Forklifts, or powered industrial trucks, are typically used to move materials, but can be used for other purposes in the work place, too. Forklift accidents rank among the highest occurring industrial accidents in the United States, with more than 20,000 reported injuries and over 100 workers killed in forklift related accidents each year.
The leading cause of forklift accidents is overturning the equipment, making up approximately 26 percent of severe forklift related injuries and 25 percent of forklift related deaths.
When a forklift is overloaded with materials, it is dangerous not only for the driver, but also for other workers in the area. Overloading can cause the forklift to tip over or materials to fall off.
Overloading is only one reason fork lift accidents occur. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has regulations for the proper training, certification, and evaluation for forklift operators. OSHA states that over 70 percent of fork lift related accidents could have been avoided with the appropriate safety measures.
Along with providing the correct training, employers can take many safety precautions to reduce the amount of work-related injuries on their sites. These measures are but are not limited to:
- Routine forklift maintenance
- Providing a safe operating environment clear of obstacles
- Limiting machine use to trained operators only
Workers can and should commit to workplace safety by:
- Not operating a forklift machine unless given the proper training and authorization;
- Conducting safety checks prior to operating the vehicle;
- Looking out for possible worksite hazards, such of proximity of power lines, uneven floors, floor surface finishes, blind corners and low entryways;
- Considering the balance of the forklift and the load to avoid overturns;
- Ensuring the load is safely placed and the pallets are in good condition;
- Not using the forklift to elevate people unless the machine is specifically constructed to do so.
If you have been injured on the job and need help securing workers’ compensation or disability benefits, the attorneys at the Steinberg Law Firm are ready to help you and your family. We will put our Firm’s years of experience handing workers’ comp claims to work for you. Learn more by calling us today at 843-720-2800 to schedule your FREE, confidential consultation.