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Safely driving a forklift

Accidents involving forklifts can happen quickly. If they are not properly insured, they can be enormous liabilities for companies. The locations where the lifts are used are key for insurance. You can protect yourself from financial consequences with the proper risk analysis.

10 April 2018, author: Natascha Fabian, photo: iStock

Two men are discussing something. One man is sitting on a forklift and the other is standing next to it.
Have you insured your forklift properly? The area of use is important for insurance coverage.

As an entrepreneur, you need to put quite a bit of thought into how you insure your forklift. Its area of application is decisive. That is because the location where the forklift is used is important for insurance coverage. 

Business liability insurance and private premises

In the event of an accident on private company premises that are not accessible to the public, business liability insurance covers the damage. If you assume that the forklift is used only on company premises that are not accessible to the public, it does not need a number plate or registration document. However, it is important that the forklift be operated only in private areas.

Enormous consequences

Forklifts must not be driven on public streets – not even in exceptional situations. If damage is incurred in that situation, business liability insurance does not cover it. Especially if a person is injured, there can be enormous consequences for a company. 

Number plates for forklifts in public areas

Forklifts that are also operated in public areas absolutely must have number plates. If an accident takes place in a public area, the motor vehicle insurance covers the damages.

Special permit for separated areas

Are your private areas separated by a public street? Remember the forklift’s ‘grey card’. The forklift does not need a number plate to cross a public street, but it does need a special permit from the responsible motor vehicle authorities. The authorities issue this permit once they have proof that the forklift has insurance coverage (grey card). In this case, business liability insurance guarantees insurance coverage, even if an accident happens when the forklift crosses the street.

Forklift guidelines

Whether or not private premises are concerned, Helvetia recommends using the guidelines from SUVA as a point of orientation for your training and instructions for forklift drivers. Guidelines only available in German, French and Italian.

 

Systematic risk analysis

SMEs face many risks, which are often not obvious at first glance. Furthermore, it is not always easy to determine when which kind of insurance is needed. That is why Helvetia values a systematic risk analysis for its business customer insurance. It explains existing risks to entrepreneurs and clarifies which risks should be covered by insurance.

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