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Injuries from forklift incidents

In warehouses, factories, shipping yards, freight terminals and other workplaces across Australia, forklifts are used to lift, stack and transfer loads.

While forklifts offer a practical materials handling solution for many businesses, each year they continue to be associated with workplace deaths and injuries.

For a forklift, tipping over is one of the biggest dangers when operating a forklift. This is a leading cause of deaths involving forklifts, accounting for one in six deaths. The chances of a forklift operator sustaining serious harm are high if the forklift operator decides to jump from an unstable forklift.

When an operator jumps or is thrown from an overturning forklift, more often than not they end up trapped under the overturned forklift and a fatality occurs.

There are several instances where a forklift can tip over; these include rolling or overturning the forklift sideways or by pitching forward when the back wheels lift off the ground.

According to a guide on forklift safety from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, forklifts can tip over if you:

  • collide with another vehicle
  • brake too quickly, especially with a loaded forklift
  • brake or accelerate while cornering
  • accelerate quickly in reverse
  • carry a load facing down a slope
  • brake or accelerate down a slope
  • carry an unevenly balanced load
  • drive with the tines raised too high (loaded or unloaded)
  • strike low doors or overhead structures
  • drive across inclines or uneven ground such as potholes (particularly with a height difference greater than 20mm across the front wheels)
  • turn too fast

Information for this article was sourced from For further forklift safety information contact MLA Holdings on 131 652 or

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