Forklift trucks are an essential part of most industrial and supply chains around the world. However, statistics indicate that they also present a very significant hazard to people occupying the same workspace. Forklift induced injuries can be severe or fatal as the trucks are heavy and powerful vehicles. Twenty years ago the forklift was the major cause of industrial deaths and accidents. Unfortunately up until now little has changed.
This paper will explore new forklift and pedestrian safety products that are being hailed as the most exciting piece of occupational health and safety news for decades. The products are truly revolutionary and offer a new break through in detection technology and are making a strong impact in safety applications.
Forklift Accident Statistics
As reported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) June 2001, forklifts strike pedestrians everyday, resulting in 100 deaths and over 20,000 injuries annually in the United States alone.
The NIOSH report shows that approximately every 3 days, someone in the US is killed in a forklift related accident. Each year, an additional 94,750 injuries related to forklift accidents are reported. The costs incurred due to forklift accidents are estimated to be over a hundred million dollars.
How do we get to such a large number? Besides workman’s comp or workers lost time at the job there are huge lawsuits awarded for forklift accidents. When you start adding up awards like $750,000 for a back injury or $2.8 million for a foot injury it’s easy to see how these costs add up with the number of incidents reported each year.
Forklift accidents happen because of many different reasons. The chart below shows accident percentages based on incident types. The first four safety alert technologies described in this paper will focus on the second leading forklift incident type where forklifts strike pedestrians.