Boom Accident Illustrates Dangers of Forklift Attachments

Police Tape

Photo Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society via Wikimedia Commons

A recent accident in which a worker was injured after he became trapped between a book attachment and his forklift underlines the importance of always following the proper safety procedures.

The latest incident occurred May 19 at the Fripp Warehousing facility in the city of Kelowna, British Columbia, while an unidentified worker was using his forklift to load a truck on the company’s loading dock, according to Cpl. Steve Woodcox, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Kelowna bureau.

“For one reason or another, he got caught between the boom and the forklift,” Woodcox said. “He was pushing a load onto the truck, the load got caught, and the boom pushed back onto the man and caused him some injuries.”

“At this point, they seem minor,” Woodcox told the local newspaper, the Daily Courier, from the scene just moments after the accident. “He’s just been taken to (Kelowna General Hospital) for assessment, and we’ll be following up with WorkSafeBC int he next couple of days.”

Driver Escaped Serious Injury

After the incident, the worker was able to call out to others in the area for help. Paramedics strapped the man to a stabilizer board before transporting via ambulance the hospital. He was conscious when he left the work site and reports indicate he suffered only minor back injuries.

While this accident apparently was not serious, it illustrates the importance of always following safety procedures while operating forklifts and forklift attachments.

Forklift operators and pedestrians are at risk of serious injury from forklifts overturning, load falling and collisions. Fitting a forklift with an attachment changes the balance and center of gravity of the vehicle, so operators sometimes don’t always know of an attachment can affect the over all operation of the vehicle.

Attachments Change Vehicle Stability 

Attachments can cause changes to the vehicle’s lift capacity and stability. Plus, using a non-approved attachment to perform a task can increase the danger even more.

To maximize safety and minimize risk, always follow these safety guidelines when using forklift attachments:

  • Ensure attachments such as side shift devices, extension forks and jibs have rated capacities and review any and all information about the safe use of the attachment prior to using it
  • Consult the forklift manufacturer’s user’s manual if you are unsure if an attachment is safe to be used with a particular forklift model
  • When using an attachment, the forklift capacity may need to be de-rated and some operating controls may need to be restricted
  • Ensure that the attachment is secured correctly and safely on the vehicle. If a load is suspended, reduce the lifting capacity.
  • Attachments should only be used for specified tasks
  • Supply instructions for the attachment’s proper use and ensure that all operators understand them thoroughly
  • Use only attachments designed and matched for the specific forklift you will be using
  • Ensure information such as work procedures is easy to understand and follow. Use pictures if necessary.
  • Make information on an attachment’s operation, load plate, risk and control measures available to anybody who may be using it.

While the Canadian forklift operator may have been lucky to escape serious injury, forklift attachments are potentially dangerous devices. So it’s always important to use them with the respect they deserve.


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