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Keep Alert to Floor Conditions

Floor conditions in most workplaces are not constant. Indoor floors can become slippery due to spills or uneven due to wear. There’s also the danger of protruding boards and nails on wooden flooring. Floors also have loading limits and these can be exceeded by the forklift’s weight.

Floor conditions can be even less predictable outdoors. Weather conditions can render the ground wet, muddy, unstable, or icy. None of these conditions is ideal for driving a forklift over.

Some parts of the floor or ground may also be smooth or rough by design. Both conditions present different challenges to forklifts.

How Floor/Ground Conditions Compromise Forklift Safety

Driving a forklift over different types of floors or in certain conditions can create challenges such as:

  • Increased braking distance: When the ground or floor becomes slippery due to spills or wet weather, it can be harder to bring the forklift to a stop. Without extra precaution, the operator can easily slide and cause a collision.
  • Sudden shifts in load balance: This can happen if unstable ground or flooring under one or more wheels gives way. It can also happen if the vehicle slides uncontrollably on a wet surface.
  • Bouncing of the load: Ground conditions that shake the forklift will also shake the load. On rough roads, this can cause loads to bounce up and down and move out of position making the forklift unstable and more likely to tip over.
  • Collision: When there are sufficiently high protrusions or debris on the floor or ground, they can be hit by one of the forks. Depending on the speed and loading conditions, this can cause the forklift to tip over.

Avoiding Floor Related Forklift Accidents

Forklift operators and the company can avoid floor-related accidents by following measures such as:

  • Inspecting the floor before using the forklift and not using the forklift on very slippery or unstable ground
  • Driving slowly when the floor is very rough/bumpy or when moving over slippery areas.
  • Taking note of floor loading limits and not exceeding them
  • Choosing an appropriate load height to avoid hitting protrusions
  • Removing debris from the forklift’s path or choosing an alternative path
  • Repairing floors and reinforcing outdoor areas that are driven over by forklifts

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