Are forklifts more dangerous than a car?

Forklifts are a very common type of workplace vehicle which are used to move millions of tons of products each year. While they are an essential machine for many workplaces, they can also be very dangerous. In fact, workplace vehicles (including forklifts) are responsible for a large portion of all workplace accidents and fatalities. This leads many to wonder if forklifts are actually more dangerous than a car. This is a relatively difficult question to answer accurately because of the fact that they are used in such different ways. It is good, however, to look at the safety of both of these types of vehicles.

Number of Accidents Per Year

The total number of accidents that occur per year is far higher for traditional cars than it is for forklifts. This is largely because of the fact that there are far more vehicles on the road each day than there are forklifts in operation, which makes this statistic somewhat misleading. An estimate from OSHA states that approximately 11% of all forklifts will be in some type of accident in any given year.

According to insurance company statistics, the average driver will need to file a claim only once every 17.9 years.  Of course, not all accidents lead to insurance claims, but that still indicates that forklifts have a higher incident rate than cars.

Unique Hazards of Forklifts

Forklifts face many hazards that aren’t typically present with a passenger car. For example, forklifts often drive inside and have smaller areas where they need to operate. This can make it more likely that the operator will get in an accident. The forklifts are also going to be carrying heavy, potentially hazardous, materials much more often than a car would. In the forklift’s favor, however, is the fact that they operate at much lower speeds than a typical car.

Safety Comes First

Most experts would agree that overall, forklifts are more dangerous than a car. This is just one more reason why it is so important to ensure all forklift operators are getting the right level of training. They also need to be taking extra precautions at all times to avoid unnecessary risks while operating a forklift in the workplace.


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