Most people understand the safety hazards relating to forklift accidents, but what about the everyday health risks for forklift operators? Neck, back, and knee issues can occur from sitting long periods of time and twisting to see behind you or around a load. Drivers can experience whiplash and pain from sudden stops, poor suspension, and frequent bumps. The inherent repetitiveness of an 8-hour shift can also make some forklift operators experience fatigue.
So, what should you do to avoid the health risks of forklift operation?
One of the health risks of forklift operation is the muscle and joint pain that is felt after you contort yourself in unnatural ways. Anytime you overstretch to reach a pedal that is situated too low or a lever is too far from the seat, you put a strain on your body. As you repeat these motions over and over again, you could develop a musculoskeletal disorder like tendonitis, chronic muscle strain or nerve pinches. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 30% of all worker’s compensation claims stem from these types of musculoskeletal disorders.
Luckily, new forklifts models have put a greater emphasis on ergonomics. Newer trucks have less vibration and adjustable seats, so every control is easily accessible. Soft-touch hand grips, adjustable steering columns, and swiveling seats help keep muscle strain to the minimum. Mechanical improvements in suspensions, breaks, and tire treads enables you -- and your back and neck -- to experience less abrasive bumps and jolts over an 8-hour shift.
Even if you operate an older truck without the modern conveniences built in, you can still improve your ergonomics by retrofitting your Indiana forklift with items like a back-up handle, seat-belt extenders, or a blind-spot mirror. Stretching before and during shifts can also help keep muscles and joints limber. Even little habits, like remembering to remove your wallet from your back pocket, can reduce the risk of experiencing back and neck pain.
Getting a full 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night may seem trivial, but when you are tired, you may not be able to adequately operate a forklift. Tiredness has been shown to decrease reaction time and increase indecisiveness. You might even start to feel phantom aches and pains, forcing you to needlessly overcompensate. The CDC has warned that almost 40% of American don’t get a full night’s sleep. It’s no surprise that routinely burning the midnight oil might come with some pretty high consequences.
Unfortunately, driving a forklift can be repetitive, and fatigue may come on silently. It is fairly easy to unintentionally drift off, and then jolt back awake when you “come to.” Even if you don't have an accident from dozing, this motion can make you swerve the truck, causing strain on your neck or back. You may want to solve your tiredness with coffee or stimulants; but, unfortunately, the only cure to sleep deprivation is sleep.
According to OSHA, most forklift accidents can be avoided with proper training. And while you should have been properly trained before you even operated a forklift, bad habits can still emerge over time. New machines may handle differently or come with improved features, which you may need to be trained on. The easiest way to make sure training is updated is to pre-schedule it on a periodic basis, and when you buy a new make and model.
Tynan can help your Indiana operation become safer and more efficient. Our experts can walk you through how new forklift models have integrated new ergonomic features and how you can structure an operator training schedule that works for your drivers. Just call us at (317) 597-4003 today.
We’ve seen and been part of a number of forklift rodeos in Indiana over the years. Here are 3 suggestions for forklift rodeo activities from our team! Learn More
For the same loadcapacity, forklifts differ in 3 main ways. Learn about the differences betweenelectric forklifts and internal combustion trucks in Indiana.
For the same loadcapacity, forklifts differ in 3 main ways. Learn about the differences betweenelectric forklifts and internal combustion trucks in Indiana.Learn More
Buying or leasingyour first forklift in Indiana? Planning an addition to your fleet? Here are 3things every warehouse manager needs to know. Learn More
Facilities managers want to keep their floor clean to meet standards and to maintain their equipment. Here’s your guide to floor cleaning equipment in Indiana. Learn More
It’s essential to keep your floor cleaning equipment functioning efficiently. Here are 3 tips to maintain your floor cleaning equipment in Indiana. Learn More
There are telltale signs that let you know that your business is ready for an upgrade in material handling equipment. Are you seeing any of these symptoms in your business? Learn More
Tynan offers a range of specialty forklift solutions—from narrow aisle forklifts & telescopic boom trucks to special orders like explosion-proof forklifts. Learn More
Tynan Equipment Company’s annual family picnic showed our appreciation for the hard work of our employees and their families on behalf of Indiana's forklift authority. Learn More
OSHA-compliant training is required for all Indiana forklift operators. Get the basics of forklift training with help from Tynan Equipment Co. Learn More
Depending on your forklift engine, age, or type its maintenance schedule can differ. Find out how often your equipment needs service with help from Indiana’s forklift authority. Learn More
Different forklift engine types can provide unique advantages. See how propane forklifts can make Indiana facilities more efficient today. Learn More
Walk-behind floor sweepers are efficient, quiet, and maneuverable. See if a walking sweeper is right for your Indiana business. Learn More
To buy or to rent a forklift? That’s the question many Indiana businesses face. Figure out your answer with help from Tynan Equipment of Indiana. Learn More
Warehouse Tugs and Indiana Personnel Carriers offer your warehouse several benefits, but you need to be informed before buying new or used material handling equipment. Learn More
Warehouse equipment isn’t all about forklifts and pallet jacks. Learn about the smaller equipment and warehouse accessories that Indiana businesses need. Learn More
Tynan Equipment Company makes renting a forklift in Indiana fast and easy. Here's how to rent material handling equipment in Indy, Lafayette, Ft. Wayne and beyond. Learn More
Combination sweeper-scrubbers are more efficient than most other floor cleaners. See why Indiana facilities choose them for their floor cleaning jobs. Learn More
Looking to rent a cherry picker in Indianapolis or another type of aerial lift throughout Indiana? Let Tynan help you figure out the right tool for the job. Learn More
Even though each Indiana retail warehouse is different, most need a forklift to manage their inventory. What forklift is right for your needs? Learn More
When a forklift goes down and out of commission, it can be a huge detriment to your Indiana warehouse. Here are some steps to minimize downtime. Learn More