The 10 most frequently occurring forklift accidents

Crashes involving forklift still account for a significant proportion of all work-related accidents. More precisely - it ranks at number 4 of all work-related accidents!
In 2018, the number of forklift crashes was shown to be still increasing. Several different kinds of crashes can occur with a forklift.
We list here the 10 most frequent forklift accidents and explain how to improve safety when working with trucks.

Discover our solutions

2. Falling goods

Frequency: 17%

When a forklift makes a careless manoeuvre or has to swerve unexpectedly to avoid an employee or an obstacle, there is a chance that the load on the forklift will topple down. This can cause serious injury or damage, depending on the nature of the load.

To prevent forklifts and people from unexpectedly crossing each other's paths and having to take evasive action, it is best that you carry out a thorough risk analysis of your workplace. After this analysis, you will be able to better assess the hazards and draw up a clear traffic safety plan for your warehouse for your warehouse. This way, you can neatly separate moving traffic and pedestrians, and prevent painful confrontations.

In some circumstances, it is inevitable that pedestrians and forklifts will end up in each other's vicinity. Make forklifts and pedestrians stand out more clearly. Pedestrians should wear a fluorescent jacket, while forklifts can be equipped with strips in a distinctive colour. You could also attach a so-called BlueSpot or TruckSpot  to the vehicles. This is a light that projects a blue dot on the floor a few metres from the vehicle. This way, they announce their arrival to everyone who is in the vicinity.

4. Tipping sideways

Frequency: 7%

If a forklift is on a sloping platform, drives too fast over a speed bump or an uneven surface, or has to swerve suddenly, it can tip sideways. As a result, the driver may be ejected from the cabin or trapped between the forklift body and the ground or a wall (e.g. as a result of trying to jump out of the cabin).

You can eliminate many risks by limiting the maximum speed at the workplace. This is something you can agree on internally, instruct and indicate, but it can happen during stressful moments that the driver might go a bit too fast. If you want to be absolutely sure that the speed remains limited under any circumstances, you can install a speed limiter in the forklift. This forces the driver not to work fast, but to work just that bit more efficiently and safely.

Nowadays, you can also make use of the TruckLog Speed Zoning system. This is a system with infrared technology that automatically adjusts the maximum speed to the conditions in each zone.

Forklift safety equipment

The forklift itself can be fitted with  safety belts or safety bars, or you can make sure that a closed cabin is used. Safety belts are the most budget-friendly (and necessary), but also offer the least protection of the three. Moreover, it is tempting to just click the belt in behind the back without putting it on, especially in situations where the operator has to regularly get out of the forklift.

A possible solution to this is the so-called stream belt. This is a belt that is located in front of the entrance to the cabin, so that the clark driver is forced to put it on when entering the cabin.

Door bars  provide extra protection for the cabin in the event of an accident with a forklift. A variant to this are swivel bars. These work on the same principle as swinging doors, with the difference that the forklift operator can open them upwards. This ensures that he or she can get on and off the forklift effortlessly, even in narrow spaces.

If you want to make sure you have complete safety, the fully closed cabin  is still the most recommended solution. In addition to protection from the weather, dust or dirt, the risk of being trapped during a rollover is minimal. Provided, of course, that the driver actually drives with the cabin closed.

Whichever option you choose, a safety belt is always compulsory, even if there are additional safety features.

7. Injury when getting in or out of a forklift

Frequency: 4%

The risk of sustaining a painful injury is just a fraction of a second away. As the operator becomes more proficient at his or her daily tasks, some carelessness may creep in when it comes to getting on and off the forklift. Depending on the height between the cabin and the ground, an unfortunate stumble can cause an injury that can put the person out of work for a while.

The best advice for preventing this is simple: watch out. Be careful when getting out of the forklift, and preferably step out of it like you would do climbing down a ladder: with your back facing outwards. This will help avoid any sprains or dislocations.


8.  Technical errors

Frequency: 3%

Forklifts are made up of mechanics and electronics, and something can always go wrong with them. A fork can come loose, the brakes may not work as well, the fuel line may be leaking, etc.

It is therefore also very important to subject forklifts to regular technical inspections. Even more than that, checking the internal circuit and running a test of the main functions of the forklift before you start your workday are both recommended in all cases.

Conclusion: provide extra safety measures for forklifts

Which forklift accidents occur most often is in the end not important. The bottom line is that the risk of any type of accident should be minimised by all means possible and avoided at all costs. Prevention plays an important role in this.

You can get far with communication and by raising awareness, but no workplace is immune to accidents. That's why it is also absolutely essential to install the right kind of crash protection. If something does happen, expertly installed crash protection can ensure that the damage is limited.

Are you wondering how you can optimise safety within the workplace? In addition to a wide range of solutions to prevent forklift accidents, we also have host of other safety solutions for your workplace. For instance, perhaps it's important to protect sharp corners, which you can do with our column protection. Are you also looking for a solution for slippery stairs? Then be sure to discover our XTRA GRIP range. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us, we're more than happy to give you some advice and help!


  1. N. Dickety, A. Weyman, P. Marlow - Measuring Workplace Transport Safety Performance
     In "Factors affecting workplace transport safety", Health & Safety Laboratory" - Derbyshire (UK) 03/2005 - p. 4, 2.1