Forklifts, or industrial trucks, are used to easily lift materials that need to be moved from one location to another. As such, they are a useful and convenient piece of equipment found on job sites and construction sites worldwide.
Due to their small size, employers and employees alike may assume they are safe and easy to operate. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that 20,000 workers are seriously injured and 100 killed in forklift accidents each year.
Forklift Flip Overs
Forklifts weigh nearly 16,000 pounds. Therefore, it may not be surprising to learn that when a forklift flips over, it often has fatal consequences for the operator and any passengers that may be involved.
Forklift flip overs can be prevented, but even the most skilled operators need to remain vigilant of the circumstances that can cause them to happen:
- Traveling with forks too high
- Unstable load
- Operating in an environment with ramps
- Crossing railroad tracks
- Operating or braking on slippery and unstable surfaces
For those that have been injured in a forklift flip over, the injuries can be long term, requiring extensive medical treatments, physical therapy, and medications. The financial strain of such injuries is often exacerbated by the fact that the victim is no longer able to work.
Families who suffer the devastating effects of a forklift flip over should contact a Piscataway construction accident lawyer as soon as possible, to make sure they receive the compensation necessary to cover medical costs.
When forklifts are operated at high speeds in areas with low visibility, it is not uncommon for the operator to collide with people or other objects. When a forklift collides with an object, this will inevitably send the passenger to the ground, where they could be easily run over. Additionally, operators not wearing seatbelts are at equal risk.
To reduce the risk of running over employees and nearby pedestrians, consider the following safety tips:
- Fasten seatbelt
- Do not allow passengers to ride on forks
- Obey speed limits and stop signs
- Restrict the use of forklift operation in pedestrian areas
Forklift Operator Certification
In an effort to reduce the number of forklift related injuries and deaths, OSHA requires forklift operators to be trained and licensed. This includes ongoing evaluation of operator performance as well as refresher training if the operator:
- is observed operating the forklift in an unsafe manner
- is involved in an accident or near miss
- is assigned a different type of truck
By law, it is the responsibility of each employer to find a forklift operator certification program for their employees. Failure to do so could result in a monetary penalty for the employer.
Other than avoiding fines, employers should consider the fact that there may be several additional benefits to properly certifying forklift operators. These benefits include reducing the occurrence of accidents, lowering insurance premiums, more skilled and efficient operation, and reducing property damage.
Piscataway Construction Accident Lawyers at The Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Represent Employees Injured on The Job
If you have been injured in a forklift mishap or suffered from another worksite accident, contact a Piscataway construction accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Our lawyers provide rigorous, experienced representation and will answer your questions about qualifying for Workers’ Compensation coverage or filing a lawsuit. To discover what you may be entitled to, schedule a free consultation by calling 732-537-8570 or complete the online contact form.