Forklift and Lift Truck Seat Belt Safety

Seat belts save lives, which is why their usage is not an option. Sadly though, like seat belts in a car, seat belts in a forklift are often viewed as being optional. Some drivers have the impression that they are toy vehicles with no danger inherent in operating them.

Tipping over is the biggest danger for a worker using a forklift. If a worker jumps or is thrown from a tipping forklift, the chances of serious injury are high. The safest place for a forklift operator to be in the event of a rollover is strapped into his or her seat. Forklift accidents in the past have revealed that the operators who were injured or killed were often not buckled in.

While seat belts can’t prevent accidents, they can prevent serious injuries and save lives. Here is OSHA’s stance on forklift seat belts:

“OSHA’s enforcement policy on the use of seat belts on powered industrial trucks is that employers are obligated to require operators of powered industrial trucks that are equipped with operator restraint devices, including seat belts, to use the devices. CSHOs [Compliance Safety and Health Officers] will enforce the use of such devices under Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act.”

Employers, remember you are responsible for ensuring that forklift operators are wearing their seat belts. If the operator does not use seat belts, you could be cited and fined for failure to comply with OSHA standards under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which requires companies to protect employees from recognized hazards.