Forklifts are used to move heavy loads in numerous industries, such as warehousing, manufacturing, agriculture and retail. Worker deaths and injuries linked to forklift accidents are an ongoing safety issue. Standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration require training and continuing certification for forklift operators.
Investigations conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that forklift safety is sometimes lacking in certain workplaces. Awareness of the dangers is low, and OSHA standards and manufacturer guidelines are not always observed. From 1980 to 1994, the National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities Surveillance System recorded 1,021 worker deaths resulting from forklift accidents, and accident data studied by NIOSH indicates that most deaths occur when a forklift falls off a loading dock and crushes a worker.
Grades and ramps raise the chance of the forklift overturning. On a ramp, the load should be tilted back and raised only as far as needed to move. In addition, only loads within the capacity of the forklift should be moved. Passengers should never be allowed unless the forklift has an extra seat, and when getting off a forklift, the parking brake must be set, the controls placed in neutral and the forks lowered. These guidelines are only a sampling of the necessary safety procedures.
Someone injured in a forklift accident on a job site might endure significant injuries. The workers’ compensation system is meant to cover the expenses of injured and killed workers. However, an insurance company or employer might obstruct the claim filing process. Sometimes a worker consults with an attorney to learn about the benefits to which he or she is legally entitled. An attorney might also be able to advocate for an injured worker and gain the necessary benefits.