Forklifts are commonly used in industrial worksites across the country.
They are used to lift and move heavy materials across short distances.
While their use greatly improves efficiency at the worksite, they can
also be very dangerous for workers who operate them and for other workers
nearby. In fact, forklifts are responsible for thousands of workplace
injuries in America every year.
Forklift Injury Statistics
Here are some statistics that show just how dangerous forklifts can be
when proper safety protocols are not followed.
- Forklifts cause roughly 20,000 workplace injuries every year
- Forklifts are responsible for over 100 workplace fatalities every year
Forklifts are responsible for just 1% of workplace accidents
- However, they account for 10% of all workplace injuries
- 25% of all forklift accidents are due to inadequate training
Common Causes of Forklift Accidents
Forklift accidents can happen for a variety of different reasons:
- Inadequate training
- Poorly maintained forklifts
- Inadequate forklift attachments and accessories
- Poor workplace design
Preventing Forklift Accidents
By focusing on the main causes of
forklift accidents, employers can take steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Ensure all employees receive adequate safety training. Workers who operate forklifts should be trained how to operate them safely.
This includes accelerating, breaking, turning, and backing up techniques.
Even workers who do not operate the forklifts should be trained how to
work safely in an environment where forklifts are present. Most forklift
injuries involve a pedestrian, so employers need to make sure that the
forklift operators and other workers communicate regularly to avoid any hazards.
Design a workplace that provides maximum space for forklifts to maneuver. If your forklifts are operating in a warehouse, make sure the aisles are
wide enough for safe turns and other maneuvers. You can also use railing
or painted lines to separate forklift zones from pedestrian worker zones.
Some aisles can even be restricted to forklift or pedestrian only aisles.
Mirrors can be placed at high traffic intersections so that pedestrians
and forklift operators can see traffic coming from around corners.
Keep up with regular maintenance of the forklifts. While most forklift accidents are the result of operator error, accidents
sometimes occur because of a malfunctioning forklift. Ensure that you
are keeping up with maintenance on the braking and steering systems. You
should also regularly check the forklift’s safety devices to make
sure they are functioning as intended.
What To Do If You Have Been Injured in a Forklift Accident
If you have been injured in a forklift accident, you should consult with
an attorney as soon as possible. Whether you were injured while operating
a forklift or as a pedestrian, your employer has a duty to provide a reasonably
safe work environment for you. If you employer failed to meet its duty,
you could be eligible for compensation.
The attorneys at Arnold & Itkin have experience representing victims
of forklift accidents and other types of industrial accidents.
Contact our worksite accident attorneys today to learn about your legal rights.