An inquest in Ireland heard recently how a young woman died last year after the steel loaded forklift she was driving tipped over and crushed her. She was helping out at the family scaffolding business. Her Father said she had driven a forklift in Australia and he had seen her drive so knew she was capable.
The safety inspector reported the 5,000 lb Nissan forklift was transporting a load containing 91 steel rods in a steel box weighing a total of 800kg. The operator was not wearing a seat belt and the forklift was fully extended when she turned left too quickly out of the yard and tipped over.
The coroner reported the risk factors in this accident included how the forklift was driven, its instability due to mast position with the load, and the lack of a seat belt. The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure and recommended that forklift trucks be fitted with a device that could prevent operation unless the seat belt is engaged.
If you an operator reading this, don’t wait for a device that forces you to wear the seat belt – wear it at all times anyway. In BC it’s the law, a law that is there for your safety. Better still never drive in such way that your forklift will tip – keep it low and drive it slow.