Horseplay and Its Unintended Consequences

forklift horseplay

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We all want to have fun at work and one of the best ways to build employee relations is to share a laugh. It reduces stress, makes a team more cohesive and can improve productivity. However, having a laugh and engaging in “forklift horseplay” – actions that are frivolous and rough – are two different things.

Tony Jones, ProLift Technical & Safety Trainer, shares “I raised two boys. Admittedly, there was horseplay in our house. It was great fun and produced some memories I would never trade. But it also led to the occasional broken lamp, bruised arm or hurt feelings.”

Employees must learn to eliminate distractions and recognize the risk of unintended consequences, especially when working around lift trucks and other heavy equipment. Tony states, “It is important to think before taking action and always err on the side of safety. Imagine speaking to a co-worker’s family and having to say ‘I am so sorry. I didn’t intend to hurt him. It was just a little horseplay.’”

Forklift Horseplay Examples

  • Turning off the propane tank valve causing the forklift to stall unexpectedly
  • Stunt driving or racing
  • Giving rides on the forklift or its forks
  • Jumping on or near the forklift to startle the operator
  • Steering the forklift toward a pedestrian, pretending to “hit” someone
  • Throwing objects at an operator
  • Standing on forklift overhead guard
  • Dropping load intentionally
  • Turning off warehouse lights

As safety advocates when we hear stories about horseplay or witness the event first-hand, we can never accept or condone the behavior with a smile or laugh or inevitably these actions will escalate. The unintended consequences are too dire to treat it passively. We need to react appropriately with a true concern and desire to educate our employees.

ProLift can help you stay on top of current laws and best safety practices. Learn more about our safety training class offerings, including forklift, aerial lift and skid steer training.

Contact Safety Specialist

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