Do I have to wear my seatbelt?

Most Canadians wear their seatbelts while driving their vehicle on the road. But many Canadian forklift operators do not wear their seatbelt while operating their forklift. Let’s compare.

Most passenger vehicles come equipped with 3-point seatbelts, a soft impact dash, a collapsible steering column, air bags, impact bumpers, crumple zones, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, doors, roof and radial tires. That’s a lot of safety equipment working for you. But most of us still understand the need to wear their seatbelt.

Now, let’s take a look at the average forklift truck:

  • Solid steel rod steer column
  • plastic-coated steel dash
  • two wheel drum brakes
  • open cab
  • no crumple zones or bumpers

Although a forklift’s maximum velocity is just 14-25km/hour, you wouldn’t want to run into a wall at that speed! Even at just 10km/hour, your hands will not be able to stay on the steering wheel. Your chest and/or abdomen will impact the steering column, and forward momentum will allow your legs to impact the solid-structure dash. Ultimately you are likely to be thrown from your seat, colliding with the mast assembly.

If your forklift is involved in a tip-over accident, you stand a good chance of being thrown from the operator’s seat and being crushed by the overhead guard. Remember, the overhead guard is there to provide protection from falling objects, it is not a roll cage and in the case of a tip-over accident, it can be deadly.

Now consider this. More than half of all forklift-related accidents involve either an impact or a tip-over/fall fom the operator’s compartment.

Do you have to wear your seatbelt? WorkSafeBC regulations say that you do. And really, it just makes sense.

Work smart, stay safe!