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DISCUSSION FORUMS : Forkliftaction.communicate
Forum: Safety, training & legislation
Discussion:  Seat belt use on forklifts.
Number of messages: 98
Page: [1] 2 3 4 5
Pennsylvania, United States
???????????????????     I'm glad it's mandatory. I'm kind of tired of steam cleaning pieces of scalp off of overhead guards when some nit-wit slams a pole and doesn't have a seatbelt on.

Posted 6 Jul 2004 12:04 AM Reply  Report this message
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Ohio, United States
I would have to disagree and say seatbelts should ALWAYS be worn.  OSHA almost went that "maybe, sometimes should be worn" route here, got slammed by the industrial truck assn for it and left it alone.  I know people talk about driving in reverse and the seatbelts binding them but the issue is to improve the seatbelt system not just abandon its use.  Seatbelts are proven to save lives in cars and also with forklifts, I say lets not open the door by saying "sometimes"

Posted 16 Jul 2004 08:28 AM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States
If forklift operators get to choose in the matter then if they get injured as a result they should have to waive their rights to sue the company, collect workers comp, etc.  Everyone has choices, but you must live with the consequences and most people I know want the freedom but are not prepared to pay the price.  What are the examples of times when this is so impractical?

Posted 19 Jul 2004 10:40 PM Reply  Report this message
Alberta, Canada
The leading cause of fatalities of forklift operators is the tipover and being struck by the overhead guard as the operator tries to jump clear, it takes about 1.6 seconds to tip a forklift over and it takes at least 2 seconds to undo a seat belt, this law will save more lives in the long run.

Hey, they had to start somewhere and tackling the worst cause of forklift operator fatalities is the best place.

Sure it is inconvenient, but what would you like more inconvenience or not going home at the end of your shift?

Alberta Forklift Safety Council
Serious about safety!

Posted 31 Jul 2004 01:35 PM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States
I would say that rather than finding excuses on why not to wear one people should find way to be able to do the job while wearing one.  If visiblity is a problem there are remote cameras and possibly mirrors that might assist.  If we start making excuses and even one person dies then they will ring very hollow.

Posted 27 Aug 2004 07:25 AM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States
Wayne,  guess that is what makes a good horse race is differences in opinions and I definately disagree.  Good that we can disagree and still remain professional though.  There are about 25 people that die each year in the U.S. that would in fact be alive if the belts were worn - tipover related.  They may have had the choice and figured the risk was worth it but they were in fact wrong.  I have never in my career seen a person die that was belted in during a tipover and usually they are not even injured that seriously.  That is not to say someone has not died when wearing one but I just don't know about it.  Cars are a different issue with fears of buring while trapped or crashing into water which are not valid on a lift in 99.99% of cases.  I don't feel operators should be given a choice, but I also don't feel they should be punished by not being able to do the job well - employers need to find solutions to the problems operators present them with.  By the way, thanks for the info on the video lost youth!

Modified 28 Aug 2004 06:42 AM
by poster.
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Florida, United States

remember,a seat belt is so an operator cant bail when tipping.

Modified 30 Aug 2004 01:24 AM
by poster.
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New Brunswick, Canada
As we all know, the primary purpose of a seat belt is to hold the operator in place in the event of a lateral tip-over.  One statistic I've seen states tip-over's are the result of 25% of the lift truck accidents and 42% of the fatalities.  
Gut reaction is to jump and because we're all smart people, we jump downhill - the direction of the fall and some part of the drivers' overhead guard can severly injure or kill the operator.
Seat belts can also be of a great assistance in the event of a head-on collision, a tip-over to the front and can hold an operator in place so perhaps they won't loose control of the steering quite as easily.
Lift truck manufacturers have been installing seat belts for many years and stating in their manual + on the overhead guard tip-over instruction "wear the seat belt".
So.....bottomline:  if an operator is to drive a lift truck with "due diligence" and take all the precautions, wearing of seat belts is mandatory at all times - inside or out.
Most operators do not wear a seat belt at all, others just when they're outside, but....inside can be critical as well.  Working in shipping/receiving and falling off a dock; on a mezzanine or an open area plus, those head on collisions.  Lift truck operators do run into stationary objects now and again and others have their forks too low with forward tilt and it has happened where the forks have caught on a bump and the driver has been ejected into the steering wheel and mast.
Some legislators when talking about seat belts, use a primary reference to the overhead guard on the lift truck:  is it a ROPS or a FOPS?  Some laws use this distinction to clarify seat belts.  If a lift truck has a ROPS (roll-over protection structure), use of seat belts is mandatory at all times.  Some of these laws don't make any statement for lift trucks with a FOPS (falling object protection structure).  So....check the lift trucks you're using to see what is on your truck.  Some are now using a ROPS, like rough terrain lift trucks.
If the employee and the employer are to have a defence of due diligence, we must take all the precautions so.....looking at the different type of accidents that could happen we need to ask ourselves, "Could the use of seat belts have (a) prevented the injury/fatality or, (b) reduced the extent of the injury?  In all cases we probably could answer "yes" so the answer becomes very clear; use of seatbelts at all times is mandatory.
Think of the excuses for not wearing a seat belt or for management not enforcing their use and answer the 2 questions and our excuses become "moot".

Posted 7 Nov 2004 08:26 PM Reply  Report this message
Wisconsin, United States
I think anyone that reviews the details of lift truck accidents that result in death will quickly come around to the importance of seat belt use on lift trucks. In my experience, if you leave it up to the discretion of the lift truck operator they will probably never wear their seat belt. While we generally prefer that the government doesn't force us to do things, the fact is that is what it takes to get companies to pay attention. I recently received an email from a person looking for the specific reference (OSHA) to wheel chock requirements for loading/unloading trailers because  management refused to get behind even the most basic safety practices unless they were legally required to. That's the real world, folks.

Posted 18 Aug 2005 01:40 AM Reply  Report this message
Nova Scotia, Canada
The debate in Canada should be a non issue. The Federal government made seatbelt usage mandatory in the 70's under the "ROPS" (roll over protective structures) legislation, that required the operator of any vehicle that required a ROPS to wear their seatbelt.  Having said that three decades later companies are only starting to accept their responsability in requiring their operators to wear a seat belt.  If you are lucky you may find 30% of lift trcks that are fitted with ROPS with the operator buckled up.  Legislation is not an effective answer we must also educate in order to save lives.

Posted 20 Aug 2005 11:39 AM Reply  Report this message
Arizona, United States
Seat belts should always be worn while operatimg a fork lift. There are several reasons for this statment. Seat belts help the operator keep control of the fork lift during operation which will keep others in the area safer. If an operator has an accident while operating a fork lift and there is an serious injury or death, the first question O.S.H.A and the insurance company will ask is " was the operator wearing his/her seat belt. Seat belts should be required just as P.P.E is required.

Modified 23 Aug 2005 09:43 AM
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North Carolina, United States
As an Outreach Trainer, one of the issues my customers ask about is how to keep safety awareness high in our workers.  Putting that seatbelt on, after the pre-start inspection, is not just a life-saving tactic, but also a reminder to the driver of just one facet of the safe operations of a lift truck - a first in many steps of other safe operationing procedures that should hopefully follow.  I have seen too many accidents due to the complacency of employees, and the use of a seatbelt should never be overlooked.  Rememebr - as a good trainer we always want to re-inforce positive, life-saving practices.  If you leave it up to the driver, it will be one more safety incentive overlooked and another accident ready to happen.  If the belt is binding or restrictive - it serves as a reminder that it is there for a reason.  There are a lot of safer alternatives to negotiating a load - other than removing the safety belt.

"Paving the Road to a Safer Workplace!"tm

Posted 26 Aug 2005 00:29 AM Reply  Report this message
Ohio, United States
We have recently started using seatbelts that will not allow operation unless they are buckled.  That eliminates the innocent person who forgot to put it on because that can't happen.  We also let them know that if they buckle it and then sit on it that they will be fired (just like other blatent safety violations).  We are now getting 100% at most of our sites after the first week.  Not bad for $85 a truck!

Posted 30 Aug 2005 07:12 AM Reply  Report this message
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
This subject has been interesting reading.  Although I am based in England, here we have a mandatory policy that all fork lift drivers must wear a seat belt.  

There have been many pictures taken post accident where drivers haven't worn them.  The evidence speaks for itself.  As an instructor, I use these pictures to show why they must be worn and why the legislation was changed.  If anyone can come up with an excuse not to wear one, then I can come up with a picture of what could potentially happen if they had an accident.  Luckily none of my trainees have ever breached this rule and hope they never will.  

If you need further convincing, put yourself in the role of your manager, would you like to tell your employees next of kin that he/she isn't coming home tonight because they didn't wear a seatbelt.  I hope that the seat belt law changes worldwide and that companies see a decline in work related deaths and serious injuries involving fork lift trucks.  

Yes I will agree that some operations are difficult because of a seatbelt, but surely that is why manufacturers want people like ourselves to let them know where they can improve safe systems like this.  I can see that this could go on for sometime, and until International law changes then there will always be to sides to the argument.

Modified 29 Sep 2005 11:57 PM
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Nova Scotia, Canada
Hi Charie

I was wondering if you had some links to websites with pictures of forklift accidents, seatbelt use etc.  I often have a picture of the forklift lifting the other forklift and people as a filler during class and it certainly evokes a lot of class discussion about the numerous safety violations and possable serious concequences.

Posted 4 Oct 2005 09:28 AM Reply  Report this message
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