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5 Costly Forklift Safety Mistakes to Avoid


According to OSHA, businesses spend approximately $170 billion dollars on workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses every year. This is further compounded by the cost of repairing or replacing broken equipment, downtime and reduced productivity. However, with a few simple steps, you will be able to reduce the time and money spent on dealing with the aftermath of workplace accidents.

Here are 5 costly forklift mistakes to avoid.

1. Lack of Safety Education

One of the best ways to prevent accidents and injuries in your workplace is to enforce operator training. Check to ensure that all certifications and equipment are up to date.

Also, make sure that all employees who work near forklifts are aware of basic forklift safety. Encourage everyone to actively practice the standards for things such as turning blind corners or crossing busy intersections. Employee accountability will go a long way in reducing hazards. If you need help doing this, you can read our blog on how to implement a culture of safety in the workplace.

If you do not place a focus on safety education, you may end up with costly injuries and downtime that you cannot afford. The cost of proper training is much less significant than the price of accidents.

2. Operator Complacency

Trained and certified operators can still become complacent over time. Make sure your management communicates that safety is a top priority for your company. A commitment to safety starts at the top and will trickle down to your team.

A great way to avoid complacency is to make sure you have regular OSHA inspections. One study shows that workplace injury claims dropped by almost 10% when a company has randomized OSHA inspections.

If your employees become complacent, you are risking very serious injuries and accidents. The costs associated with safety hazards include damaged assets, unplanned downtime and worker’s compensation. These unexpected costs can be very damaging to your company’s bottom line.

3. Failing to Act When the Forklift Seems “Off”

You should never ignore the signs that there might be something wrong with your equipment. If you ignore the early indications, you could end up with costly repairs in the future. Although fixing the small issues may take time and money in the present, it will result in exponential savings in the future.

It will also put your workers at risk if they operate faulty machinery. If you feel uncertain about the safety of a forklift, it is always best to put it out of commission until you are certain it is safe to use.

4. Neglecting Old Forklifts

Older forklifts need more care and attention to make sure they have the longest lifespan. If you inspect them at the same rate as your newer forklifts, you are likely to miss critical repairs until it is too late. You should inspect your older machines more frequently than your new equipment to ensure the machine is operating at its best capacity.

If you fail to do this, you could end up with large repair bills and may even have to replace the machine earlier than anticipated. It can also be a danger to your employees, thereby exposing them to unnecessary risk.

5. Failure to Implement a Planned Maintenance Program

Simply put, a planned maintenance program is the best way to make sure that all your equipment are operating effectively. Your material handling partner should be able to help you set up a schedule to get all of your forklifts routinely checked.

This will allow you to catch routine issues before they become big problems and will end up saving you a significant amount of money in the long run. Preventing problems before they arise will keep everyone safe on the job. It will also extend the life of your machines and will reduce unexpected downtime.

Taking these simple steps will go a long way in reducing long term costs, preventing injuries and lowering unexpected downtime.

For help setting up a planned maintenance program, contact your local Equipment Depot sales representative or call us at 888.EQDEPOT.


Ready to run a safer operation? Our training professionals can help you provide a safe and productive work environment. 


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