Don’t Skip on Safety
A worker using a motorized pallet jack unloads product from a truck onto a lift gate. It’s something that’s done thousands of times a day across America. It happens so frequently that safety is often a minor consideration. But a recent incident in Wayne Township (Allen County, Indiana) offers plenty of lessons for maintaining an efficient, safe workplace. Don’t skip on safety in your warehouse.
On September 16, 2013, Wayne Township firefighters were alerted that a man was stuck under a forklift. Reports indicated that the man attempted to load goods onto a lift gate with a motorized pallet jack. The load suddenly shifted, resulting with the worker pinned under a forklift. The man’s left foot was trapped under the load and he was left hanging upside down. Rescue efforts were conducted over a 30-minute period. The man was eventually freed and transported to a local hospital with a serious foot injury.
Thankfully, the man suffered only a foot wound and wasn’t killed. But this situation could have quickly turned fatal, depending on the load size, surface grade, weather conditions and other factors. By assessing a few potential safety hazards, the worker (or his employer) might have avoided this disastrous situation altogether.
- Was the pallet jack overloaded?
Pallet jacks are rated to carry certain loads. If this worker’s cargo was too heavy, that might have caused the sudden shift and fall from the gate.
- Was the pallet jack firmly on the lift gate?
If the motorized pallet jack wasn’t entirely on the lift gate, this imbalance could have contributed to the fall.
- What kind of footwear was the worker wearing?
Safety shoes are often overlooked. If the worker neglected to wear proper footwear (steel toe features, extra padding, etc.), a minor foot injury could have quickly turned into a serious, life-altering situation.
- Were any safety harnesses neglected?
Some pallet jack / forklift procedures require safety harnesses, especially when working on elevated surfaces.
- Did other external conditions come into play?
Improper lighting, bad weather (rain, ice, snow, sleet, etc.), worker fatigue and other factors can negatively affect safety conditions.
These are just some considerations that every forklift / pallet jack operator should pay attention to when doing their job.