A recent bulletin published by OSHA highlights a lesser known hazard of some stand-up model forklifts. The issue is called “under-ride”. It occurs when a stand-up forklift which is not equipped with rear guard or corner posts backs up toward a storage rack or similar hazard. The body of the forklift passes under the storage rack horizontal crossbar and enters into the operator’s compartment causing crushing injuries to the operator. In the U.S. at least nine employees have been killed in this manner. What to do? First evaluate your facility to determine if “under-ride” hazards exist when operating stand-up forklifts.
Here are some recommendations to minimize this risk:
- Make modifications to the shelving system.
- Install a barrier such as a curb or floor level shelf for the forklift to strike instead of under-riding occurring.
- Contact your forklift manufacturer to determine if rear post guards or equivalent protection is available for installation on your lifts. Any modifications and additions which affect the safe operation shall not be performed by the customer or user without the manufacturer’s prior written approval (29 CFR 1910.178 (a) (4)).
- Evaluate your control methods to ensure they are effective and do not create any additional hazards.
- Train your employees to operate forklifts safely. This includes being aware of recognized hazards.
- When replacing forklifts, purchase stand-ups which prevent this event from occurring.
Click here for more details on this Safety and Health Information Bulletin