Powered industrial trucks are important machines in many occupations. Forklifts are common in warehouse settings, fulfillment centers, loading docks, meatpacking facilities and a range of other industrial settings. The timesaving machines allow workers to move large objects, pallets of goods and hazardous materials with less risk of injury from heavy lifting.
Roughly 100 workplace fatalities and more than 35,000 serious injuries are linked to forklift accidents each year, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Inexperience or improper training accounts for many accidents. However, even skilled and experienced operators can be involved in workplace accidents. Forklift accidents can lead to serious and catastrophic injuries for operators and bystanders. Common forklift accidents include:
Forklifts and pedestrians
Forklifts operate differently than automobiles. In the tight spaces of the workplace, visibility can be compromised. Pedestrians are highly vulnerable near these machines, especially if the operator is focusing on the load or the pedestrian is preoccupied while traveling through the facility. Government data indicates that one-in-five of all forklift accidents involve a pedestrian (or bystander). Moreover, roughly 36 percent of fatal accidents involving a forklift are pedestrians, according to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Removing or placing pallets on racks takes a certain amount of precision. When racks are substantially high, sight lines are frequently obscured for an operator. Pallets kick tip sending cascades of their product down on the operator or other nearby workers. Pallets can fall and racks can suffer damage, creating hazards.
Machine tip overs
Powered industrial truck tip overs are all too common and top the list of fatal forklift accidents. These accidents often occur due to improper turning, unwarranted speed or operating the forklift with an elevated heavy load.
Serious injuries can take workers away from their jobs for extended periods of time. It is important for accident victims to recover physically. With the loss of time from work, it can be difficult to maintain the household budget. The workers' compensation system is intended to be a streamlined process to obtain benefits for medical expenses, income to replace a portion of wages, as well as other benefits such as rehabilitation services and vocational training, when necessary.
Navigating through the process is often cumbersome. Workers may also find resistance from insurance providers or employers. It is often vital for injured workers to work with skilled workers' compensation lawyers to get the full and fair benefits that are available under the law.