The Dangers of Using Forklifts

The Dangers of Using Forklifts

One of the most useful machines in a number of industries, including construction, warehousing, and manufacturing, is the forklift. When used properly, a forklift can go a long way in helping avoid a number of common workplace injuries by limiting the amount of lifting that workers have to do. However, forklifts also carry a number of safety risks that everyone in the workplace should be fully aware of and properly trained for. The training should not just be reserved for forklift operators, but everyone working in the area of the forklift, as well.

Forklifts are so potentially hazardous that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has an entire subsection that covers them, under the section entitled “Powered Industrial Trucks.” Everyone in the workplace should understand these regulations, given that even some of the smallest ones weigh more than three tons, making them potentially very dangerous. For example, every forklift operator must be over 18 and be specifically trained to operate a forklift because a forklift that is operated correctly is no more dangerous than any other piece of heavy machinery, but if the operator is not properly trained and certified, injuries and death are nearly certain at some point.

Forklift Injuries in the Workplace Can Be Deadly

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 20,000 workers suffer serious injuries in forklift accidents every year, with about 100 of those injuries being fatal. A major factor in many forklift accidents has to do with speed; the operator tends to move the forklift too fast for conditions at the worksite. Given that nearly one out of every five fatalities from a forklift accident involves a worker who was on foot, it is necessary that forklift operators be extra careful at intersections and blind spots, and that pathways for the forklift to travel be clearly marked. All workers at the site should be properly trained to avoid being hit by the forklift.

forklift dangers

The most common cause of death in forklift accidents comes when the forklift tips over. There are many ways to cause a forklift to tip over, including an improperly secured or poorly positioned load or one that is way too heavy for the forklift. A forklift can also tip over if it is on an incline or if the operator turns the forklift too fast. Another common hazard with forklifts comes with falls; no one but the operator should ride on the forklift unless there is an extra seat for a passenger, and forklifts should never be used to lift people unless it is equipped with an approved lifting cage.

Federal law and Texas law basically guarantee all workers safe place to work, and all parties, including prime contractors, subcontractors, business owners and property owners, as well as the manufacturers of forklifts and those who service them, all have a duty to ensure the safe operation of a forklift at every worksite where one is used.

Injuries from forklift accidents can be extremely severe, including concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI); broken bones; deep cuts; crushing injuries; spinal cord injuries, including paralysis; and even death. Many injuries resulting from a forklift accident can be life-altering. If you or a loved one were injured in a forklift accident and proper training was not provided and/or a forklift was not maintained properly, it may be possible to file suit to recover your damages. Likewise, if the forklift had a design or manufacturing defect, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit to recover damages from the manufacturer or others. Either way, the Workplace Injury Attorneys at Liggett Law Group have the experience and the skills to make sure you recover everything you’re entitled to. Contact us today for a free consultation, so that we can evaluate your case and help you protect your rights.