Current Assessment of Stand-Up Forklifts’ Underride Accidents

Richard M. Ziernicki, PhD, PE, DFE; Ricky Nguyen, PE, DFE

Stand-up forklift collisions with storage racks are a known hazard in the material-handling industry. When the height of the first rack beam from the floor is close to or above the height of the forklift’s operator compartment — and is at a height that is lower than the forklift’s overhead guard — the rack beam can intrude into the forklift’s operator compartment. These collisions are typically referred to as “horizontal intrusion incidents,” also known as “underride” incidents. When the forklift is not equipped with horizontal intrusion guarding, these occurrences often lead to serious (if not fatal) injuries. This paper presents physical testing and analysis of one major forklift manufacturer’s accident database records, which show rear-mounted posts are effective guards in reducing or preventing the consequences of horizontal intrusion incidents. Further, this paper shows these rear post guards met and exceeded design requirements of the material-handling industry standards.

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Published By

Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers
January 2023