Forklift Driving | Training Tuesday

forklift operator driving in warehouse


Forklift driving takes a lot more than just lifting and moving materials – Forklift operators should have an understanding of safety & balance, to keep materials, themselves and others safe. One of the biggest risks forklift drivers face is tipping-over. According to OSHA, approximately 25% of forklift fatalities were from tip-over incidents. 

Yes, it might seem basic, but it’s important to recognize the forklift’s centre of gravity and stability triangle. In this blog, we’ll discuss tips to keep you balanced and everything else you need to know to stay safe in, out and around the forklift.

This Training Tuesday, we’ll cover:

  • Some of the biggest safety risks associated with balance and the most common type of forklift
  • Forklift centre of gravity & the stability triangle
  • Other factors that contribute to forklift accidents and tip-overs 
  • How to conduct visual & operational forklift inspections 
  • Safety tips to remain balanced & safe while driving a forklift

There are four main potential safety risks considering balance and forklift driving. These are:

  1. How likely the forklift is to tip-over forward;
  2. How likely the forklift is to tip-over on its side;
  3. Maximum braking-level (or stopping distance) the forklift can perform;
  4. Maximum level of reversed-acceleration the forklift can perform. 

In Canada, counter-balanced forklifts are one of the most often-seen types of forklift. 



As we mentioned earlier, a counterbalance forklift has three ways it can tip—forward, or sideways, on the left or right

While driving a forklift, it’s important to maintain its centre of gravity. The centre of gravity lives within the stability triangle

Centre of gravity is defined as the point within the triangle where the bulk of the mass is located. Although we don’t recommend trying it out, the centre of gravity is also the point where the forklift could balance. Again—Take don’t try this one out, we recommend taking our word for it. 

Calculating the forklifts’ centre of gravity is complex (and unnecessary for daily use), but there are a few important things to understand in order to remain balanced as you operate the forklift. 

When the forklift is stationary, it won’t tip as the force is on the centre, but tilts forward when force is applied to the front tines (also called forks) or its back. It’s also worth noting that a forklift is more likely to tip sideways, than forwards. Therefore, adding a load to the front forks decreases the chance the forklift will tip on its side.   

Alternatively, lifting the forks on the truck with a load will cause the forklifts stability to decrease on all sides.

The diagram below shows the stability triangle. 

forklift driving stability triangle diagram












Like we mentioned, some types of loads are more likely to cause your forklift to tip. Here are some features of a load that create hazards: 

  • Awkwardly stacked or piled in a way that causes instability
  • Unmaintained pallets 
  • Load is too heavy or blocks the operators vision 

Here are some of the features of a forklift that contribute to forklift accidents, like tip-overs:

  • Faulty steering, brakes, clutch, transmission or mast assembly 
  • Inadequate or malfunctioning safety devices
  • Forklift emissions
  • Poorly organized controls and displays on the forklift 


To help maintain centre of gravity, here are a few tips to help you stay stable while operating a forklift with a load: 

  • Don’t distribute load unevenly on the forks, this will increase the frequency of sideways tip-over 
  • Don’t load the forklift beyond its WLL, this will make the forklift prone to tipping 
  • Be sure to move the load all the way to the back of the forks 

What are some risk factors of work design that contribute to forklift accidents?:

  • Stress or increased speed 
  • Not using the correct tools, attachments and/or hardware 
  • Incompetent operator, or improper forklift assigned
  • Badly serviced, unmaintained and/or aging forklift(s)
  • Lack of training for workers/operators 
  • Poor work layout for travel

Here are some risk factors while operating the forklift that contribute to accidents: 

  • Driving at high speeds
  • Driving with an elevated load 
  • Improper parking, reversal, turning, braking or acceleration with forklift  
  • Poor communication and/or warnings for nearby personnel
  • Blocking wheels on semi-trailers of railway car improperly 

If you’re operating a forklift, you should never

  • Drive a forklift without any capacity ratings listed
  • Travel in a forklift with a load raised more than 4inches 
  • Leave truck alone while running, or with a load 
  • Let unauthorized personnel operate a forklift (We’ve all seen the episode of The Office where Michael operates the forklift? Okay, good.) 
  • Attempt to adjust the load from the operating cab
  • Raise a load extending over the load backrest, unless no part of the load can slide back toward the operator 
  • Use pallets with forks as a make-shift elevated work platform (it’s more common than you think!) 
  • Let personnel stand/walk under any elevated part of the forklift 

It’s important to communicate potential hazards for everyone working in a space where forklifts are found, and use proper signals to keep yourself and others safe. Here are some more tips to help keep others safe while driving a forklift: 

  • Restrict access to areas where forklifts are used (and create procedures to keep work safe when they must enter spaces where forklifts operate) 
  • OR, create designated walkways or travelling paths to separate pedestrians from forklifts 
  • Pedestrians should always let the forklift driver know when they’re in the area—Eye contact is a simple way to make your presence know
  • Keep the area, particular the travelling path free from obstacles and ensure it’s well-lit 
  • Be careful when driving around sharp/blind corners, doorways and narrow aisles. Honk your forklift horn at intersections.
  •  Wear hi-vis clothing & PPE
  • Load the forks so your line of vision is clear
  • Avoid driving the forklift near people-heavy areas
  • Don’t walk under or near forks


A forklift operator should inspect their forklift daily, at the beginning of each shift and before each use. 

The operator should do a visual circle-check of the forklift (a walk-around) and an operational pre-use check. What do these involve?  

During a visual inspection before use, the operator should: 

  • General condition/cleanliness (this includes the forklift and surrounding floor & overhead work areas)
  • Ensure a charged fire extinguisher is nearby 
  • Make sure engine oil, fuel and radiator fluid levels are correct 
  • Establish that the propane tank’s fuel-tank mounting system, fuel-tank position pin, propane relief valves and hose are in good condition
  • Make sure the battery is fully-charged, there are no exposed wires, plug connections are in good condition, vent caps are clear, electrolyte levels in cells are acceptable and are in-place with hold-downs or brackets 
  • See that bolts, nuts, guards, chains or hydraulic hose reels are not damaged, disconnected or missing
  • Check for wear, damage and air-pressure (pneumatic tires) in wheels & tires 
  • Ensure forks/tines are not bent or chipped and are level & properly positioned—Also check that positioning latches and carriage teeth aren’t broken or worn 
  • Make sure chain anchor pins aren’t worn, loose or bent 
  • Make sure there are no fluid leaks, damp spots or drips 
  • Ensure hoses are secured and not loose, crimped or worn
  • Check for grease & debris in operator compartment
  • Make sure the seatbelt fastens & works properly
  • Guards: Ensure guards, overhead guards and roll-over protection structure (ROPS) are secure & undamaged 

During a pre-operational inspection, the forklift operator should check: 

  • FOOT & PARKING BRAKEEnsure pedal holds & unit stops smoothly, and brake holds against slight acceleration
  • DEADMAN SEAT BRAKE: Make sure it holds when operator rises from seat
  • CLUTCH & GEARSHIFT: Make sure they shift smoothly, and don’t jump or snag
  • DASH CONTROL PANELCheck that all lights & gauges are operational
  • HORN: Make sure the horn sounds loudly enough to be heard over work
  • BACK-UP: Make sure the reverse alarm and other warning devices work properly
  • LIGHTS: Ensure headlights and warning lights function properly
  • STEERING: Make sure the steering-wheel works smoothly
  • LIFT MECHANISMMake sure they operate smoothly—You can check by lifting forks to their maximum height, then lowering them completely
  • TILT MECHANISM: Make sure the tilt mechanism works properly & holds the load—You can check by tilting the mast forward and backwards completely. 
  • CYLINDERS & HOSESCheck these last and make sure they’re not leaking after doing these checks.



There are many work-related issues that contribute to forklift driving, safety & general operation.

Ensure you conduct the three types of inspections we cover in this blog, be mindful of the forklift’s stability triangle & forks, keep travel slow, steady & free from obstacles to ensure your safety and others around you—And never let someone drive the forklift without proper training, or who hasn’t been designated.  



INFO@HERCULESSLR.COM  1-877-461-4877








Hercules SLR is part of Hercules Group of Companies, with locations and unique businesses coast-to-coast. We provide securing, lifting and rigging services for sectors in Canada and Internationally. Hercules SLR serves the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email

Columbus McKinnon Guest Blog: CM Experts Talk Load Securement

load securement columbus mckinnon at hercules slr

Columbus McKinnon (CM) creates popular, durable hoisting equipment for rigging like the Bandit, and Loadstar—Today, we have a two part piece by two rigging experts from CM on the Hercules SLR talking load securement, and the benefit of ratchet binders versus lever binders. 

Read on and learn load securement tips from Henry Brozyna, Corporate Trainer for CM to tie-down loads safely and securely.

In many cases, the importance of tying down a load on or in a truck is underestimated. It’s interesting to talk to trucking people and find out that they are very in tune with what is expected of them with regards to the vehicle they drive and the maintenance of that vehicle. But when it comes to tie downs and load securement, they usually fall short.load securement columbus mckinnon hercules slr

Securing loads in and on trucks is very important – not just to the driver, but to their customer and most importantly the general public. 

LOAD SECURMENT | Good tie downs go a long way to ensure cargo being hauled on a truck stays on the truck.

A pre-use inspection of the tie downs must be done to ensure the working load limit (WLL) of that tie down is intact. All tie downs have markings to indicate what grade they are or they will be marked with a working load limit. The higher the grade, the stronger the product – as you typically see with chain. Grade 30 is the lowest grade and is not as strong as say, grade 70 or grade 80.

During a roadside inspection by law enforcement, they will look for these markings. If they cannot find any, they will automatically rate the tie down as grade 30, the lowest option. This de-rating may cause him/her to take you and your vehicle out of service due to lack of adequate tie downs. Therefore, it may be helpful to conduct a pre-use inspection, per the manufacturer’s specifications, to ensure the proper type and number of chain tie downs is used.

LOAD SECURMENT | Straps need attention too.

The condition of synthetic straps is one of the most overlooked load securement items. When straps are purchased, the manufacturer assigns a working load limit. That WLL is for straps that are intact and undamaged. This is where a pre-use inspection is needed. Straps that have damage in excess of the manufacturer’s specifications must be removed from service.

LOAD SECURMENT | Take time to check your load securement equipment.

All too often we are in a hurry to get from one place to another. This is usually when we take chances and cut corners. This is also the time that an accident is most likely to happen. It is important to take extra time to make sure the equipment you want to use is in good condition and meets the requirements for use as a load securement device. 

Read on for part two from Columbus McKinnon expert Troy Raines, Chain & Rigging Product Engineering Manager and learn more about using ratchet binders and lever binders for securing loads, and the benefits of each.

LOAD SECUREMENT | People frequently ask, « What type of chain binder should I use? » 

Being an engineer gives my outlook on life an odd slant. I frequently think of things in terms of simple machines and how they can make my life better. Where am I going with this and how do simple machines relate to chain binder selection? Let me explain. 

LOAD SECURMENT | What is a chain binder?

Also known as a load binder, chain binders are tools used to tighten chain when securing a load for transport. There are two basic styles of chain binders – lever binders and ratchet binders. The method of tightening the binder is what differentiates the two.

Lever Binders

load securement lever binder, columbus mckinnon at hercules slr
Lever Binder

A lever binder is made up of a simple machine, a lever, with a tension hook on each end. The lever is used to increase the force applied to a tie down. The lever is hinged and takes up the slack by pulling on one end of the tension hook and will lock itself after a 180-degree rotation of the lever around the hinge. Some of the advantages of choosing a lever-type binder include:

  • Easy installation
  • Fewer moving parts
  • Quick means to secure and release

Ratchet Binders

load securement, ratchet binder by columbus mckinnon at hercules slr
Ratchet Binder

A ratchet binder uses two types of simple machines and has two tension hooks on each end and handle. The handle again serves as a lever plus there is the screw thread. Having both simple machines can multiply the force manually applied to the tie down assembly.

When using a ratchet binder, the lever and screw work together and increase the force manually applied to the tie-down assembly. The result is that it takes much less pulling force on the handle to apply tension than you would need with a lever binder.

Ratchets also allow for slower, steadier loading and unloading of forces. This reduces any undue stress or strain on your body. Since ratchet binders are designed with a gear, handle, pawl and end fittings, they will not store up as much energy in the handle as a lever binder will.

Another advantage of ratchet binders is that take-up is safer. The take-up distance of a ratchet binder is typically eight to ten inches – twice that of a lever binder. While take up with a ratchet binder may take a few extra minutes, it is more controlled and ultimately a safer process.

LOAD SECURMENT | In Conclusion

Both lever binders and ratchet binders work in a similar fashion and should be chosen based on the preference of the operator. As with any type of load securement gear, safe practices need to be followed, including:

  • Always wear gloves to maintain a good grip on the binder handle.
  • Never use cheater bars on the handle in an attempt to increase the tie down tension. Cheater bars can put excessive force on the tie down. This force can be enough to damage or even break the tie down. This energy may be further increased by shifting loads. The stored energy resulting from this force could injure you or someone nearby.
  • Ensure that the lever binder is fully locked and make sure the load doesn’t shift after it is applied.
  • When releasing lever binders, stay clear of the handle to avoid any potential kickback.
  • Specifically on ratchet binders, don’t rush the ratcheting process. Slow and steady is the best way to tension.






Need more information on Columbus McKinnon equipment and load securement? We’ll lift you there.

Click here to learn more about our Columbus McKinnon at Hercules SLR. 


Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

What is a Rigger in Construction?

what is a rigger in construction, hercules slr


What is a rigger? A rigger in construction is a person responsible for securing a load to lift, pull, hoist or move in general. They’re responsible in making sure the right equipment and hardware is used for a lift, the right methods are used to lift and the equipment used is operated properly, by a qualified professional. 

You might wonder, « Don’t all construction sites move and lift things? » And you’d be correct – functions of rigging are used on construction sites daily. However, a rigger’s responsibilities are a bit more specific. They may be brought onto a construction site to move the construction crew’s large machinery (think a skid steer or forklift) to another part of the site. Other roles a rigger might perform on, or for, a construction site are: 

  • Signal Person: This person is responsible to signal, with verbal or physical cues to workers’ who operate the lifting equipment, especially cranes.
  • Inspector/Fabricator: This person is involved in fabricating the equipment used to lift, and is also likely be used on the construction site to repair, inspect or certify rigging equipment and other lifting apparatus’ used on site. 
  • Controller: This person may be involved in operating the equipment used to lift, mechanical or otherwise. They could operate a crane, electric chain hoist or other moving gear and direct the path of hard-to-move loads. 
  • Assess and install: A rigger will determine the best equipment to be used for the load. 


As we mentioned, lots of rigging happens on a construction site daily. But a rigger may be called in to lift a load that requires specialized equipment to get the job done. Certain lifts, or equipment you need to complete those lifts, may be regulated or require certifications to operate them. In these circumstances, a rigger would be called in to complete the lift or to assess the load and determine which equipment should be applied. 

For example, one of our riggers’ was called to a site to move an excavator that had broken down. They needed the equipment moved so it could be repaired, and Hercules SLR was brought in to find the best methods and tools to lift and move it. 


Here’s an example.

The project manager wanted to use two synthetic round slings to lift the excavator by its tracks.

Before the move, Hercules SLR riggers’ discussed the clients’ needs and expectations. The two riggers’ on the job gave their recommendations and went beyond that by finding the excavator’s manual which detailed its lifting points, and which hardware was best to use. Then, our riggers’ calculated the excavator’s load weight – after collecting and calculating all relevant information, they found that synthetic round slings’ were specifically not recommended to lift this particular excavator. 

If the project manager had simply bought the equipment he thought best to lift the excavator, it’s very likely he would have damaged a $100,000+ piece of equipment – yikes. 

This is a common example of a rigger being called in to rig something for a construction project. 


Rigging involves the use of equipment like cranes, forklifts and large spreader-beams – this work often requires workers’ to be at heights. Working at heights is something a rigger should be comfortable with. 

Many rigger positions or construction positions with rigging as their primary role will offer some on-on-the-job and outside training, but that’s not say there aren’t useful skills to have. 

Some of the skills a rigger should have, are: 

  • Math & Science: Physics and other calculations are an everyday part of securing and rigging a load. Determining an objects’ centre of gravity, for example, is an essential skill. 
  • Operating Machinery: If you’ve skipped over the first part of this article, or it just didn’t sink in yet – operating machinery is another everyday part of rigging. Much of this machinery is electric, but manual pulley’s and hoists are used, too. If you have an interest in mechanics and problem-solving, construction rigging could be a great path for you. 
  • Adaptability: Typically, a rigger in construction will have to travel to different sites for work. Depending on the type of rigging done, a riggers’ travels can take you to faraway destinations – some of the places Hercules SLR’s riggers have gone to include Sable Island, Mexico and offshore destinations, which can be particularly isolated. 
  • Risk Management, Communication & Planning: Imagine this – you’re working with a construction crew, and you’re responsible to help build a commercial kitchen. You’ve rigged part of a large industrial walk-in refrigerator, but forgot to assess the hazardous risk for chemical refrigerants. The load’s weight hasn’t been distributed evenly and the load sways and crashes against an obstacle, damaging the container and causing it to leak. Many refrigerants contain harmful, environment-damaging chemicals and now, you’re the rigger responsible for damage to the environment, people and the equipment. Situations like this can have harmful financial, legal and fatal consequences for the rigger and everyone else involved. This is why it’s important to understand the machinery, physics and the risks associated with securing and lifting various loads – planning and being able to communicate with all involved on the job site is crucial to manage risk. 

Some of the things taught on a rigging course are:

  • Regulations/Standards
  • Rigging Planning
  • Rigging Triangle
  • Load Control
  • Sling angles
  • Rigging Equipment (slings, hitches, hardware, hooks)
  • Pre-use Inspection
  • Communications (radio and hand signals)
  • Practical Application of the equipment and principles 


As we explored in this article, a rigger performs many different duties, functions and must be responsible for many different aspects of a lift. Industrial trades, like construction are often associated with rigging, but riggers’ are found across nearly every industry. They might not be called a rigger, either – someone who rigs might also have these job titles: 

Boat/Ship/Marine Rigger

Crane Erector

Crane Operator

Crane Rigger

Entertainment/Stage/Theatrical Rigger

Gear Repairer

Gripper/Stage Grip

Hook Tender


Loft Rigger

Machinery Mover

Material Handler

Offshore Inspection Technician

Offshore Rigger

Parachute Rigger

Rigging Foreman

Rig Worker



Warehouse Associate 



A lot’s been covered in this blog post – and we’ve only scratched the surface of some the roles a rigger plays in construction. Riggers’ in construction are often found working as crane operators, inspectors, transport truckers or millwrights.

For more information on what a rigger in construction is, check out our blogs below or e-mail to learn how Hercules SLR’s services can assist your construction crew.







Is a career in rigging right for you? Hercules SLR will lift you there.

Click here to learn more about career opportunities across Canada with Hercules SLR. 

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

Modular Construction Trending: Innovative Workspaces

modular construction project hercules slr


Modular construction allows significant portions of work to be completed, off-site and usually inside in a modular workspace. It doesn’t describe the building itself, but the way it’s built. 

Many think of a mobile home or re-locatable building when they think of prefabricated or relocatable buildings, but modular construction has become more modern and sophisticated in recent years, which has led to more modular working spaces. Modular construction can be used to build either residential or commercial buildings, although commercial is the most common. 

A modular working approach to construction tends to focus on manufacturing—Read on for an example.  

EXAMPLE: A construction crew builds an office building. Instead of assembling the entire project on-site, individual parts are manufactured indoors. The crew would assemble individual wall panels indoors, and these will later be put up on-site. 

Other parts of the project could be assembled here, too—think washrooms, pre-built wall panels, ped-ways, stairs, and even the roof. 

These parts are assembled in the modular workspace, transported and put together on-site as the construction project progresses—these prefabricated parts are put together with lifting equipment like cranes or aerial lift trucks.  

modular construction capabilities by hercules slr
Modular constructed apartment.


Since modular workplaces are a bit different than traditional construction sites, they can also reduce some of the risk or hazards found on typical construction sites. Safety can be enhanced by modular construction:

  • Less work at height—for example, on many modular projects a roof is lifted to the top with a crane. 
  • Reduce garbage and waste—working off-site can limit the amount of extra material thrown away, and can be recycled for future use. 
  • Community disruption—modular construction and workspaces bring work off-site, making the area more quiet! For example, let’s say you’re building an office on a University campus. Modular construction frees the campus from common construction disruptions (loud machinery, dust, barricades, etc.). 
  • Time—they say time is money, and modular construction can save time compared to working on-site. Prefabrication often takes about half the time and many pieces can be made at once, which lets contractors take on multiple projects, schedules can be planned more ‘tightly’ and projects are finished quickly.  
  • Remote Locations—Modular construction allows work to be taken off-site, which can be a great benefit for more isolated locations. Think—a house in Northern Alberta is mainly assembled indoors, so workers can do less work in frigid, outdoor temperatures. 


One notable modular construction project is the 57-storey skyscraper built in China by entrepreneur Zhang Yue, in just 19 days—yes, you read that right, a whole skyscraper assembled in 19 days altogether. Specifically, the first 20 storeys were assembled in seven days, but various regulations held the project up for a year before the last 37-storeys were built in 12 working days. The final skyscraper has offices that fit 4,000 people, 800 apartments and 19 atriums. 

Zhang has built a number of other buildings using the same method. A skyscraper built using traditional, on-site construction takes about 2-3 years compared to the days Zhang’s projects take to complete.


Overall, modular construction reduces uncomfortable environmental conditions for workers and clients, increases productivity and can reduce harm and injuries.

Traditional construction sites will always have a place in the industry, but it’s an exciting innovation that’s sure to shake things up. 


Equipment needs regular maintenance like relevant inspections, repairs and proper employee training to operate properly, prevent damage or injuries and work efficiently—consider Hercules SLR your one-stop-shop. We’ll inspect, test & repair your equipment, and fully certify it to comply with national and provincial safety regulations. 

We’ll keep your modular workplace running smoothly and efficiently, so you can complete projects and keep your customers and employees happy. 

Hercules SLR inspects, repairs and certifies:  

  • Lifting Magnets 
  • Hoists & Cranes 
  • Lifting & Rigging Equipment & Hardware (EX. shackles, slings, beam clamps, pallet lifters, etc.)
  • Fall Protection 

Workplace safety is important in any construction setting—We offer training for: 





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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Warehouse Safety: 8 steps to take after a racking accident


As we mentioned in our previous blog on warehouse and forklift safety, the winter months are a busy time for warehouse personnel. There’s retail, inventory, and in these modern times, the hustle and bustle doesn’t stop on December 25 – there’s boxing day sales, new years events and more to keep your warehouse busy. During these busy times, a racking accident is more likely to occur.

Many warehouses use a racking system – a material handling storage system meant to store materials on pallets, which are commonly known as ‘skids’. Racking accidents look disastrous and can cause injury – they also take time, money and resources to repair (and this is before the cost of replacing the damaged materials).

Racking accidents tend to occur more than once, generally when proper incident investigation and reporting does not take place – these accidents will continue to happen. Managing a racking accident effectively will ultimately improve your companies whole risk management plan.

To prevent further accidents from taking place, proper incident reporting is absolutely necessary. Norm Kramer, a consultant from Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Prevention Services says incidents often remain unreported, for two reasons:

  1. An ineffective reporting system: It may be common-place to say a racking accident or damage is no big deal in the workplace, and/or the reporting process is too complicated and « not worth dealing with ».
  2. Employees fear consequences: workers may fear discipline or termination after reporting an accident or near-accident.

Here are 8 steps to take after a racking accident in your warehouse:

Accidents happen!
Racking Accident: Be Proactive

Have an investigation team already in place. This team should include people who are aware of accident investigation and causation techniques, and are also familiar with roles and routines of the specific workplace. Examples of these team members could be immediate supervisors, outside-contracted employees, union representatives (if necessary), safety committee members or employees familiar with the role.

Create a basic response plan to follow after an accident/emergency, and post in a common area where all employees can see it.

1. Racking Accident: Consult Workers—And Equipment

Examine the injury/incident that has taken place and take not of the situation at hand. Remember to include the basics – who, what, when, where and how. If needed, don’t forget to acquire medical attention. Inspect the rack and determine the type and amount of damage.

2. Racking Accident: Control the Area

Protect worker safety and secure the area if needed. You may need to contain the damage, or unload the racking structure if safe to do so.

3. Racking Accident: Communicate Hazards

Inform workers of hazards on the warehouse floor, and any other obstacles workers should be aware of.

4. Racking Accident: Find the Source

Identify the cause of the accident/hazard. The cause could be incompatible forks and pallets, poor visibility in the warehouse, or not enough space between racking and the forklift to turn properly.

5. Racking Accident: Put Controls in Place

Place controls on the root source of the accident/incident to remedy it. Controls may range from more training, a different warehouse layout or inspections/repairs to equipment.

6. Racking Accident: Keep Communication Open

Keep communication open with management, human resources and any other management or employees relevant to the accident. Be sure to share relevant forms, documents and other required materials with them.

7. Racking Accident: Repair and Inspect

Be sure to have your racking equipment inspected and/or repaired by a qualified professional. Depending on which province you’re in, these regulations may differ. Factors to consider include: building regulations, fire codes and employer responsibilities regarding safety.

Check with your provincial labour ministry for rules and regulations related to storage and material handling, warehouses and other engineered equipment. The Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety recommends following the Canadian Standard Association (CSA) for Steel Storage and Steel Racking units, A344.1 and A344.2.

Forklift Safety at Hercules SLRracking-accident-warehouse-safety-forklift

At Hercules SLR, we provide hands-on training with a focus on safety—we provide lasting knowledge you and your employees can practically apply. Find more information on our Forklift (Narrow Aisle or Counterbalance) Safety Training course here.

Find more information on Hercules SLR inspection services here, so your forklifts remain in top condition. Learn more about the benefits of our asset management tool CertTracker® for your forklifts and other heavy machinery and equipment.



Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.