by | Safety |

Did you know that more than one in ten forklifts will be involved in an accident each year? Noting this, OSHA estimates forklifts cause about 85 fatal accidents per year; 34,900 accidents result in serious injury; and 61,800 are classified as non-serious. Further, it is estimated that 90% of all forklifts will be involved in some type of accident during their useful life (estimated at 8 years). [1]

Lower Your Risk


Taking steps to improve worker and public safety while operating or being near a forklift requires training, planning, and education. OSHA requires operators to receive training for each type of Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) they will be operating, including the use of any attachment (e.g., manlifts, drum attachments, etc.). The training also must include the conditions under which the vehicle will be operated, such as surface conditions, ramps and slopes, hazardous locations, visibility, and pedestrian traffic. Because these factors are different from workplace to workplace, OSHA requires the training to be site-specific. For complete details on the OSHA required training (1910.178(l)(3)), visit

Additionally, refresher training should be given to drivers every three years. It may be needed more frequently in certain situations: [2]

  1. Whenever an operator is observed operating unsafely
  2. When an operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident
  3. When an operator receives an unsatisfactory evaluation
  4. When an operator is assigned to a different type of PIT

Stay Safe on the Floor

Whether operating a forklift, or working near one, employee and public safety should be the top priorities for organizations. When operating a forklift near other employees or around pedestrians, implement one or a combination of the safety steps below to help prevent an accident:

  • Temporarily close areas to prohibit pedestrian access
  • Establish designated/marked travel lanes for equipment
  • Set up ropes, cones, sawhorses or other barriers to keep the area clear of pedestrians
  • Put up warning signs or cones
  • Use spotters/helpers to direct the forklift driver
  • Schedule delivery trucks to avoid busiest times

When employees operate a forklift around pedestrians, make sure to stress the following:

  • Give pedestrians the right of way
  • Stop, or do not move, if they don’t see you
  • Make a complete stop:
    • when at blind corners,
    • when entering areas used by other traffic
    • when at all stop signs
    • before entering main aisles or roadways
    • before reversing direction
  • Make direct eye contact when approaching a pedestrian
  • Sound the horn to alert others
  • Do not allow any person to pass under elevated equipment, loaded or empty
  • Do not drive or back up to any person standing in front of a fixed object

Learn from Mistakes

Near misses and close calls provide important learning opportunities. Make sure all employees know to report all close-calls or potential dangers so safety procedures can be re-evaluated as needed. In addition, any collision with objects should be reported and investigated to determine what can be done to prevent future occurrences. Reporting these incidents and near misses can help prevent a serious accident in the future.

Acadia insureds have access to additional safety resources, including safety videos. Log-in to MyAcadia at or contact your local independent insurance agent or Acadia Insurance loss control representative for assistance.


Acadia Insurance is pleased to share the material in this blog.  Please note, however, that nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services.  This material is for general informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.

[1] OSHA –

[2] 1910.178(I)(4)

Share this: