While operating a forklift, the operator should be safely strapped into the seat with a seatbelt. A forklift seat belt ensures that the operator doesn’t try to jump out of the truck during a tip over. Panicking comes naturally during such circumstances. And, trying to jump out of the truck is a reflex action for all operators. However, with a forklift, trying to jump out becomes hard. The belt keeps the driver glued safely to their seat throughout the ordeal. Trying to jump out is a deadly course of action.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lacks a particular rule regarding forklifts to java seat belts. However, it requires sticking to using seat belts in the trucks. You have a responsibility to ensure your forklift operators always wear their seat belts. Here are 6 abominable things likely to happen to a forklift seat belt.
Not using the seatbelt
Sometimes operators forget or fail to acknowledge the immense power of the forklift they drive including how dangerous it can be in case of an accident. A forklift truck can weigh about 9000 pounds. So, no operator can land safely during a tip over. When this happens and the operator wasn’t wearing a seat beal, they would probably fall from the truck or attempt jumping out.
However, the chances of getting caught below the truck are so high. Keep in mind that the sheer weight of the truck is enough to crush a limb or crush the operator. Industrial accidents are hard to avoid but taking precautions helps avoid injury and property damage.
Use when damaged
Ignoring using the seatbelt is bad but using a damaged one is meaningless. The seatbelt is for keeping the operator safe in case of an accident. One way to tell the seat belt is no longer effective is to cross it over your torso and simulate it. This way you can realize whether it works fine or you need to get a replacement from a reliable supplier having forklift parts and accessories. Postponing replacing a defective belt is likely to cause you significant problems.
A seat belt is an essential safety feature. Fortunately, a belt is just simple without any complex electrical gadgets. However, it doesn’t mean that you can handle repairs. Thinking that you can take out the belt for repairing from home is a bad idea. You probably lack the expertise and experience to handle the job appropriately,
Being creative matters but it becomes wrong if operators start modifying it. To them, altering the belt might be aimed at becoming more comfortable wearing a suit. Some people can tie knots on the belt to restrict its retraction from the housing. The knot can cause considerable damage and proper retraction might become hard.
A seat belt needs placing closer to the body with the tape entirely flat with no knots or folds. The lower section of the belt should go over your protruding hip bones. After adjustment, check for efficiency by doing a strong pull forward.
Situations where a seatbelt will save the day
Sometimes forklifts collide with other trucks or with structures. This usually results from poor visibility and the presence of blind spots that make figuring out what is in front hard. When a collision happens, the operator can’t get thrown out of the truck with great force if they had used the seat belt. Severe situations can potentially lead to loss of lives if the person didn’t use a seat belt.
Forklift operators are not made the same. Some have good manners while you can’t forget those who might want to act irresponsibly. If the operator uses a seatbelt, their whole body is confined in the cabin. In case the truck collides, the operator’s head will be inside the overhead guard and without any limbs protruding.
Some accidents in the workplace might make the forklift overturn. Most operators potentially consider jumping out as a safer solution. However, it is deadlier and might even claim the life of the operator. Wearing a seat belt will keep you confined in your seat regardless of what happens.
Seat belt requirements in the United States
OSHA lacks a particular standard regarding the implementation of seat belt use on forklifts. However, Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) Section 5(a)(1) says that an employer is responsible for protecting your staff from danger and harm. One way to ensure this is by investing in seat belts as a restraining system to ensure workplace safety.
The ASME B56.1-1993 - Safety Standard reveals that forklifts made after 1992 should come with a restraint system. Alternatively, they should come with overhead protection to keep staff safe during accidents and lower the extent of damage during a tip-over.
Just like in cars, forklifts need seatbelts for the safety of the operator. It is important to discourage using the belt or using damaged ones. Getting a replacement is worth the investment to ensure a safer workplace.
Published by Pamela Johnson