Discussion:
Hyster Narrow Aisle Reach Truck Mishap

Hyster Narrow Aisle Reach Truck Mishap.

One of our employees suffered a fractured pelvis as a result of being ejected from the truck during a "tail swing" incident. Even though the deadman switch was working, the employee was pinned between the truck and a pallet rack after being ejected. There is no restraint on this lift which could have prevented the incident. Have there been any other similar incidents reported for this (or similar) lift? I plan on informing Hyster but I wanted to hear from all of you. Thanks
  • Posted 13 Nov 2004 06:39
  • Discussion started by greg_r
  • California, United States
Take the Time to Be Safe
Showing items 1 - 13 of 13 results.
I have reviewed several thousand incident reports for stand up lift trucks and they clearly show that operators can be ejected from end control stand up lift trucks during turns, collisions tipovers etc. Generally when something happens the oeprator will raise their foot off of the deadman pedal to brake. At that point they are standing upon one foot and hopefully have their hands on the steering tiller and the multifunction control. There have been many operators who have been severely injured due to their lifted leg coming outside of the compartment and many who have been off balanced enough that they go outside the compartment. Was there operator error? Maybe. Does that mean that the operator should have been injured? Definitely not. Ford is a company that utilizes rear doors on their stand up forklifts and they have foot and leg injuries because the door keeps the operators within the safer confines of the forklift. A latching rear door would also prevent the operator from being ejected if they become off balanced while standing on one foot.
  • Posted 21 Dec 2007 09:09
  • Reply by tabbat
  • Kansas, United States
Greg,
I have studied your situation and have concluded it would be physicaly impossible for an operator to accelerate his body out of the drivers compartment unless he can generate about 3G's of lateral force to overcome the centrifugal force of excessive tailswing, maybe Arnold Swartzniegger could.
Besides that, why would he propel himself ahead of the direction of travel and pin himself between the forklift and the racking? Ah, maybe we are talking about Homer Simpson in brainpower.
  • Posted 25 Feb 2005 06:28
  • Reply by Al_S
  • Alberta, Canada
Alberta Forklift Safety Council
Serious about safety!
Greg I am an incident investigator,workplace health & safety officer and a Registered training organisation to train & assess forklift operators. I regect the word "ejected" I would be looking else where to discover the root cause of the incident. I have tested many operators on this unit and have yet to find one with an ejector mechanism fitted. (Forgive me for my mirth)
Operators have a habit of concealing the true facts! You need to look deeper & look into the operators habits, get reports from his fellow workers.
THese units do millions of lifts daily -world wide and are safe look to the operator not the machine.
  • Posted 9 Feb 2005 14:54
  • Reply by DANGEROUS
  • Queensland, Australia
"OUR BUSINESS IS SAFETY"
Of all the accidents I have seen, only 1 in 10 does the operator admit to it being his fault. I can't see how he was thrown from the truck. If the tail "swung", the articulation plate stops were not adjusted right, or the operator was going too fast, the floor was uneven, or he tried to jump out. This is all just my opinion. I agree with the above message:"STAY IN THE TRUCK". I have driven fast Raymonds and Crowns where the brake would lock up or the truck slid in a turn because of slick of un even floors. I no circumstances did I ever expericnce a force that came close to throwing me from the truck
  • Posted 9 Feb 2005 11:51
  • Modified 9 Feb 2005 11:52 by poster
  • Reply by Liftdoctor
  • Indiana, United States
I agreee that operator error is most likely to blame. But there could be other factors as well. What type of floor surface are we talking about? How smooth is it? remember only one wheel drives and stops the truck. The wheel can also be subject to improper adjustments of the casterwheel. If there isnt the right amount of preload on it, then the drive tire may not have the proper amount of load, and could cause a slipperly condition, especially, if the "swing" of the truck was in a direction that aided in unloading the drive wheel, thereby limiting braking strength.

These types of units are mainly designed to use directional "plugging" to stop and or change directions. Should the operator(s) use the deadman brake to stop the truck all the time, this could cause premature wear to the brakes also making the brakes less effective.

In effect, anytime you are thrown form a lift truck, (stand up or otherwise) you are travelling too fast for the conditions. Add to this a imporperly maintained truck or super smooth floors, and you will have a recipe for disaster.

Anytime you are operating a stand up narrow isle truck, and you are in a situation of loss of control, STAY IN THE TRUCK AT ALL COSTS! Otherwise, the operator will get hurt.

Doc.
  • Posted 6 Feb 2005 14:14
  • Reply by NTOLERANCE
  • Wisconsin, United States
I am concerned about the (possibly correct) assumption that driver error is to blame, I recently had a situation on a 44 tonne shunting tractor used internally for hauling road trailers.
The ignition cut-out and when I applied the handbrake, it appeared to operate but had failed to apply the brakes!
A handbrake fault was found 3 days later only because I lived to tell the tale!

The vehicle is now "repaired" such that the drive axle brakes are automatically applied as the electrics fail and the truck can roll away again when the ignition power returns!!!
The full facts are outlined on another query on this page, I would dearly value some expert opinion - but so far I have had no replies.
  • Posted 6 Feb 2005 03:40
  • Reply by rod_s
  • England, United Kingdom
I would agree with the general opnion of driver error, or better still driver knows better than the industry. After inspection of three similar incidents at the same premises the same conclusion was given. These are mechanical handling devices not boy's toys, has anyone noticed the amount of operators still without licence or formal training. Good companies operate endorsement and penalties for driver error. Safety is not an option!
  • Posted 5 Jan 2005 04:08
  • Reply by philip_t
  • Cleveland, United Kingdom
IF IT'S NOT INSPECTED IT'S NOT SAFE
I don't buy the story. If the force of the "tail end swing", which occurs while turning, traveling forks first direction, is strong enough to eject the operator, then it would probably tip over the truck as well.

What really happened: The operator was traveling (too fast) power unit first direction, realized he was about to collide with rack, jumped out, and was trapped between truck and rack.

Faced with the choice of blaming it on equipment error (don't let facts sabatoge a good story), or admittting to an act of excessive carelessness/stupidity, the operator chose the former.

Any witnesses?
  • Posted 10 Dec 2004 12:30
  • Reply by brian_c
  • Pennsylvania, United States
Nothing is idiot-proof to a motivated idiot.
If no rear overhead support uprights are present the careless operation of the reach truck can slide the main body (just above the steering tiller) of the tractor under a load beam therefore pinning the driver against the operator compartment in a shear action. Many manufacturers offer optional uprights to prevent this prolem. I have seen and heard of this happening and is mostly due to driver error.
Vince
  • Posted 10 Dec 2004 10:16
  • Reply by vince_p
  • Ontario, Canada
Vic,
I really think you should stick to playing the guitar and being the ageing rocker you've always been (-:
  • Posted 3 Dec 2004 03:33
  • Reply by dave_p
  • United Kingdom
please excuse omission re brake efficiency. Meant to say that "such brakes will not immediately stop the vehicle."
  • Posted 26 Nov 2004 20:53
  • Reply by vic_k
  • Ayrshire, United Kingdom
Without knowing the exact model of truck, and the circumstances, it is very difficult to make any specific comments.

However, I would agree that this appears to be down to driver error. Narrow aisle trucks are intended to be used in racking and therefore predominantly straight line travel. Hyster trucks all have owners and operators guides supplied with them which provides information on the operation and maintenance of trucks.

Also, on electric vehicles, th emain form of braking is by retardation of the drive motor.
The deadman brake efficiency is dependant upon how well maintained. Stopping distance will obviously be proportional to speed and load but even when properly adjusted and fully operational, such brakes will not stop the vehicle.

I think this supports the comments made elsewhere in this Forum on the safe operation of forklifts and the almost immediate criticism of th eproduct as opposed to the work practices.
  • Posted 26 Nov 2004 20:50
  • Reply by vic_k
  • Ayrshire, United Kingdom
Greg:
While I'm from a smaller area - narrow aisle truck population wise; but having been in the lift truck business for almost 30 years: I have not heard of a person being ejected from a stand-up compartment.
My initial response is one or a combination of (a) the driver was traveling too fast, (b) turning a corner too sharp, (c) had his/her load (forks) too high, (d) travel with reach extended and (e) not fully within the compartment.
Uneven floor conditions may have been a contributing factor as well.
With a deadman switch working properly, it's meant to active and stop a truck pretty quickly. Some operators use this for a normal brake on the truck and coupled with any one or more of the issues I've raised above; activation of the deadman brake in a rear end swing situation could cause the driver ejection to happen more easily.
Bottomline: I don't know the circumstances nor your application, but in general terms, I would blame this on driver error.
Garry
  • Posted 14 Nov 2004 20:11
  • Reply by garry_p
  • New Brunswick, Canada

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