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Building Tip on Forklift SafetyOf all the annual construction accidents each year, half involve a forklift tip over.

But there are two factors that will help increase your chance of survival in a tip-over.

1. A buckled seat belt, and,

2. Staying in the overhead guard area.

Let’s talk about the seat belt, first.

Car drivers tend to see the seat belt as protection in case of front-end collisions. But that isn’t what the seat belt is for in a forklift.

The seat belt is designed to keep you in the seat in the event of a tip over.

According to one material handling company, interviews with operators indicate that when the forklift is tipping, the operator has a natural urge to jump out, and usually in the wrong direction.

As the forklift starts to tip, the operator’s body moves with it, in the same direction. The operator has the natural urge to jump out on the low side to the apparent safety of the ground. Problem is that the ground is the worst place to be in a tip over.

Operators should resist the urge to jump out in this situation. Operators actually cannot get away from the machine fast enough to be safe. In fact, what happens is the overhead guard falls on the operator, which can cause crush injuries.

Crash tests have shown that drivers might get a rough ride when strapped into safety seats with seat belts, but they’re often survivable. Unbelted crash tests have invariably ended up under the forklift or pinned beneath the forklift’s overhead guard.

Here is what you “should do” instead in the event of a tip over:

  • Push hard against the steering wheel, bracing your feet firmly into the floorboard on the machine. This pushes your body back into the seat.
  • Lean away from the direction of the tip (or you could say, lean away from where the forklift will land.)


So, use these tips when working in the field and stay safe on the job! 
Frost Construction, Inc. and crew