The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) purports that seven in 10 accidents in the workplace are entirely avoidable. All it takes is appropriate training and no-nonsense safety protocols. Nonetheless, forklift accidents occur regularly in warehouses and constructions sites. If you’ve been the victim of such an accident, and it occurred because of poor training or procedures, the counsel of a local Long Island personal injury attorney could be beneficial.
Common Forklift Accidents
Nearly 100,000 injuries involving forklifts occur annually across the country. That means roughly 10 percent of forklifts out in job sites are connected to some type of injury. About 35,000 of those injuries are serious, and nearly 100 of those are fatal. It makes sense to pay attention to the types of accidents that are most common. The most frequent forklift accidents include:
- Overturning: When operators are unable to balance the load on a forklift, overturns are a danger. More than four in 10 accidents involve being crushed by a forklift that has tipped over.
- Being struck by a forklift: Forklifts can move surprisingly quickly in forward and reverse. All too frequently, innocent bystanders cannot get out of the way before experiencing crushing collisions. Over one-third of forklift accidents involve individuals being crushed between the ground and the forklift, or being crushed between two vehicles. Another 10 percent of accidents involve being struck by the forklift.
- Being hit by falling materials: Eight percent of accidents involve boxes or another item falling on operators or bystanders.
- Falls: Forklift operators who fall from their machines are at risk of being run over by the heavy equipment. A small number of accidents involve individuals falling from platforms onto the forklifts themselves.
Federal law requires all forklift operators to be at least 18 years of age. Additionally, operators are legally required to complete training that includes information related to:
- How to safely operate the vehicle, including information related to vehicle stability and capacity, and any limitations the vehicle has;
- How to safely maneuver on ramps and slopes;
- How to appropriately load, stack, and unload materials; and
- Information specific to the site and the potential hazards there.
In addition to proper training and certification, managers have a responsibility to ensure that forklifts are in good working condition. A daily checklist should include:
- Ensuring that the horn is working;
- Checking for hydraulic leaks in the mast or other areas that could result in hydraulic failure or slipping;
- Noting that battery terminals and fuel connections are protected;
- Performing a tire check; and
- Completing an overview of the exhaust system and engine.
Following a Long Island accident
Forklift accidents can have severe and long-lasting impacts on workers and their families. If you were injured due to improper training, improper operation, or a malfunctioning machine, the tough team at the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC can help. Get Gary working for you now by calling 844-GET-GARY today.
Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premiere personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.