Buckle Up On Your Forklift, Too!

One of the first things you probably do when getting into your car is to put your seatbelt on. Since the seat belt laws changed, we have grown accustomed to wearing them. We always buckle up for safety before we hit the road. Look at a couple of facts and figures you may not know.


OSHA estimates that 1 million forklifts are used in workplaces across the United States. Each year, nearly 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 are seriously injured in forklift-related incidents. During a recent three year period, a major automotive manufacturer in North America incurred 46 separate incidents involving fork truck driver head injuries. The following are a just a small sampling of these injury incidents:

  • A stock keeper was operating a fork truck to take a load of empty steel containers to a dock. As he was about to turn right, a second fork truck approached from the left and the two vehicles collided. The stock-keeper was thrown forward into the fork supports. He suffered a closed head skull fracture, contusions to the face and neck as well as a sprained neck and shoulder.
  • While driving a fork truck, an area group leader looked away to check the wheel chocks on a trailer. At that moment, he hit the curb between the ramp and the dock. Upon impact, he was thrown forward and his head struck the top of the safety cage. The driver sustained a laceration to the forehead.
  • A driver with one year of experience was distracted and struck a detailed support column in an open aisle way. The driver struck his head on the mast of the fork truck, suffered a severe laceration to the forehead, and received 16 stitches.


Research consistently demonstrates that the use of lap-shoulder safety belts reduces the risk of a fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45% and moderate to critical injury by 50%. The value of wearing a seat belt while in an automobile cannot be disputed. The facts show the importance of buckling up on your forklift, too!

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