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Lift Gate Incidents Aren’t “Minor”

As shorter days, colder temperatures and hazardous weather herald the arrival of winter, it’s more important than ever to ensure your drivers have proper lift gate training. Lift gate incidents are one of the most common causes of out-of-vehicle injuries, and they can be anything but minor. A misplaced finger can lead to career-ending injuries and enormous medical bills. An awkward fall can lead to months of workers’ comp claims and light duty, especially if it’s from an elevated height (40% of compensable falls are). 

These five lift gate commandments will help your drivers stay safe. Best of all, you can implement them right now, and they won’t cost you a thing! 

 

The 5 Commandments of Preventing Lift Gate Injuries
  1. If a heavy object falls, move out of the way.
  2. Maintain three points of contact.
  3. Choose the right lift gate for the work being performed.
  4. Stuck lift gates are dangerous lift gates.
  5. Stabilize the load before you move the lift gate.

The 5 Commandments of Preventing Lift Gate Injuries

 
1. If a heavy object falls, move out of the way.

When a driver is loading or unloading a heavy object, there’s always a risk that the object will fall, especially if the driver can’t park on reasonably level ground. If a heavy object starts to fall, train drivers to move out of the way rather than risk an injury to save it. Objects can be replaced. People can’t.

 

2. Maintain three points of contact.

To reduce falls, drivers should maintain three points of contact at all times. Typically, that means one hand on the cargo, one on the lift gate switch, and feet on the deck.

 

3. Choose the right lift gate for the work being performed.

Selecting the right tool for the intended job function can be a key to reducing injuries with lift gates, especially falls. Tuck-away lift gates work well for modestly heavy objects that need to be lifted down from the truck deck. Railed lift gates are a better choice to move heavy objects that can’t be moved by hand and require the use of a four wheeled dolly or pallet jack. Drivers should be empowered to talk to you, their manager, about having the right equipment.

 

4. Stuck lift gates are dangerous lift gates.

The moving parts of a lift gate can do horrible things to the human body. Train drivers on how the lift gate functions, common problems, and how to safely check the lift gate in the event of a malfunction. Most importantly, train drivers when it’s safe to troubleshoot a problem on their own, and when to call maintenance. We’ve seen fatalities and terrible injuries from drivers trying to fix a stuck lift gate, only to have a 400-lb steel deck fall on them.

 

5. Stabilize the load before you move the lift gate.

Train drivers to set the pallet jack down and get the hand truck off its wheels before trying to move the lift gate. Also make sure they don’t try to balance too many items on one load.

 

Driver operating lift gate in the snow

Don’t wait for an incident! ClearDrive’s 10-minute course on lift gate safety trains drivers to safely operate various types of lift gates, handle malfunctions, and reduce hazards and injuries.

 

You’re 10 Minutes Away from Safer Lift Gate Operations

Haven't found time to DIY your lift gate training? We can help you cross that off your list. ClearDrive’s 10-minute course on lift gate safety trains drivers to safely operate various types of lift gates, handle malfunctions, and reduce hazards and injuries.

Keep your drivers safe as they enter the busy, hazardous winter season. ClearDrive training for commercial fleets can help them – and you – have a safer, less stressful, and incident-free season.

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