2016, a new record year in fatal forklift accidents?

In the Netherlands, and indeed, in various other countries all over the globe, forklift trucks are essential for so many different industries, so much so in fact, that it can be hard to imagine how we would cope without them. However, these machines must be used correctly and treated with respect, as they are dangerous and can potentially be fatal.

In the Netherlands alone, there are roughly 1700 accidents involving forklifts, with roughly 7 people losing their lives each year as a result. Whilst some may say that 7 is relatively low, a single person losing their life is one person too many. In 2016, by the time we reached July we had already seen 7 people die due to forklift accidents, meaning that 2016 could potentially be a record breaking year for all of the wrong reasons. Here’s a look at some general forklift stats and advice.

General facts and figures

First up, here are a few general facts and figures involving forklift accidents:

  • Each year, there are roughly 1700 forklift accidents in the Netherlands
  • Of those 1700 accidents, around 150 result in serious injury to a person, or persons
  • Of all accidents happening in the workplace, forklift accidents are the fourth most common
  • Each year an average of 7 people lose their lives in forklift accidents. 7 people have sadly already died as a result of a forklift accident thus far, and we still have four months left of the year.
  • 25% of accidents are a result of inadequate training

What are the most common causes of forklift accident?

Some of the most common causes of forklift accident include:

  • Individuals being struck by material falling from the device
  • Collisions with pedestrians
  • Forklifts tipping over and crushing somebody due to a heavy load
  • People falling from great heights from the forks
  • People being crushed between the forks and a hard surface
  • General accidents involving the operators, or somebody on the forks

The best ways of avoiding forklift accidents

There are a number of ways in which you can help to protect yourself and others, from being involved in potentially fatal forklift accidents, these include:

  • Ensuring forklift areas are free of pedestrians
  • Ensuring your forklift is audible and visible at all times
  • Using the parking brake and removing the keys when not in use
  • Using the correct speed for certain circumstances
  • Always wearing a seatbelt
  • Ensuring that the driver of the machine has received extensive professional forklift training courses
  • Ensuring all cargo is securely fastened in place
  • Making sure the operator has a clear and unobstructed view in front and behind, at all times

The importance of professional forklift training

Before we wrap things up, let’s first place an emphasis on just how important it is to receive professional forklift training. Forklift training ensures safer drivers and safer working conditions, it reduces maintenance costs, it reduces the risk of injury, it protects you against potential legal issues and fines, it protects your stock and other vehicles, plus it reduces your insurance payment costs as well.

Below you can find an infographic with facts and figures about forklift accidents in The Netherlands involving a fatality, the most common accidents with a forklift, and how to avoid a forklift accident. For the Dutch version click here.

forklift accidents infographic

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