One potential hazard to standup forklift operators is that when traveling in reverse near a storage rack or similar obstruction, a horizontal rack beam (crossbar) or similar obstruction might enter the operator’s compartment in a situation referred to as “under-ride.”
This “under-ride” hazard arises when the forklift operator backs up toward a storage rack. If the forklift body passes beneath the horizontal crossbar, the racking crossbar can enter the operator’s compartment and crush the operator.
The OSHA Cleveland Area Office investigated a fatality at a warehouse where a standup forklift operator was found pinned between the horizontal crossbar of a storage-rack shelving system and the operator’s compartment. The crossbar was 55 inches above the floor, while the top of the operator’s compartment was only 49 inches above the floor. Although the forklift had an overhead guard, the shelving rack was not positioned at the same level as the guard to prevent the under-ride. The forklift passed under the crossbar, which struck the operator above the waist and pinned his torso against part of the operator’s compartment. The operator died of asphyxiation injuries.
Employers should evaluate their worksite to determine if an under-ride hazard exists. If there are rack crossbars or similar obstructions in the facility, the employer should take one or more of the following actions:
Employers must train forklift operators on the type of equipment they’ll be using. Different styles of forklifts (such as stand-up units vs. sit-down units) pose different hazards. In addition, employers must provide refresher training if the operator was observed doing something unsafe, or was involved in an accident or near miss incident. The Training area of J. J. Keller® SAFETY MANAGEMENT SUITE can help, with courses on many topics that include online courses, classroom materials, and many other assets.