Forklift Accidents Hurt People, Infrastructure, and the Bottom Line
Forklift Accident Statistics: Understanding how many forklift accidents happen in North America?
1 in 10 forklifts is involved in some kind of accident. Industry statistics show that there are roughly 96,000 forklift injuries each year in North America out of which 38% (i.e., 36,000) involve some form of serious injury. A serious injury usually involves worker hospitalization, days away from work and in some cases permanent disability. There are about a 100 deaths every year. These numbers do not account for the hundreds or thousands of bumps and dings that forklifts cause which leads to long-term damage to the trucks themselves (reducing their service life), damage fixed infrastructure like racking/bay doors/other equipment and lead to expensive medical bills and lawsuits.
Forklift Accident Costs: Understanding how much does a forklift accident cost your operations?
Forklift accident related costs can run into millions if not tens of millions every year for large enterprises running multiple facilities. Our customers and market data tell us that:
(i) a facility typically spends $150K – $200K per injury.
(ii) a facility spends $500K – $1M per death or serious injury (e.g., compound fracture).
(iii) a facility < 100,000 square feet spends $30K – $40K per year repairing damages.
(iv) a facility > 100,000 square feet spends $100K – $300K per year repairing damages.
There are 400K-450K warehousing, manufacturing, and distribution facilities in USA. So let’s calculate some high-level numbers for what the industry as a whole is spending each year on forklift accidents:
Roughly 5-6% (20K-25K) of the total facilities are larger than 100,000 square feet.
Facilities larger than 100,000 square feet usually have 10-200 forklifts.
Facilities smaller than 100,000 square feet usually have 2-5 forklifts.
Therefore, the number of forklifts in facilities less than 100,000 square feet is ~1.4M (402.5Kx3.5)
The number of forklifts in facilities > 100,000 square feet is ~2.4M (22.5K x 105)
Just totaling up the cost of injuries and maintenance, (402.5K x $35K +22.5K x $200K +$175K x 96K) we get a Total Spend (Total Market Size) of $35 Billion per year. Yes, thats billion with a B! These numbers are truly mind boggling. How come the industry haven’t done anything to stop forklift accidents? Let’s face it, the auto industry has spent a lot more time and money developing accident prevention and safety technology (ABS, Lane Departure, Lane Keeping, Automatic Braking).
Solutions: What can be done to prevent forklift accidents?
Besides regular training and certification, there are certain passive solutions that can be used to restrict injuries and infrastructure damage:
1. Installing blue/red spotlights that warn pedestrians of approaching forklifts.
2. Installing guard rails and bump guards to safeguard physical assets.
3. Installing stop signs, automatic flashing/warning lights that warn of approaching forklifts.
4. Logging bumps and hits with telematics equipment for post-incident analysis.
These solutions certainly do help on occasion and overall we recommend having some if not all of these in your facilities. The problem with passive solutions is that they have been in wide-spread industry use for at least 2 decades and still have not resulted in a significant reduction in either the severity or the number of accidents.
Passive forklift collision prevention and safety solutions do not always stop forklifts from hitting things!
That’s why SIERA.AI introduced a revolutionary product called the SIERA Safety System (S3):
(i) It stops a forklift before the forklift has an accident by overriding the human operator
(ii) It installs in 45-60 minutes to any model of forklift without drilling holes or cutting wires
(iii) It responds within 50 milliseconds to changes in the environment around the forklift
(iv) It tracks driver and vehicle data and presents a dashboard to management about safety and productivity scores
Our customers are actively using S3 for preventing forklift accidents. They have benefited from reduced product and facility damage, prevented serious injuries and to their workforce and not a single vehicle in the field has an accident once S3 was activated. See our video below to truly believe how amazing this solution is!
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