Forklifts are one of the deadliest pieces of equipment used on the job. These pieces of equipment are deadly for several reasons and that is why there are several state and federal laws that are designed to prevent forklift accidents.
The Occupational Safety and Health Association has a forklift operator program that all fork lift operators must complete before operating a forklift. Forklift operators must be licensed and trained to visualize the path on which they are traveling, use flags and spotters when necessary, control the speed of a forklift, use care when turning, and operate the forklift in a manner that maintains the equipment’s center of gravity.
There are some startling statistics about the prevalence of forklift accidents, which include the following:
- Over 20,000 workers in the United States are seriously injured or killed in forklift-related accidents each year
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that there are about 85 to 100 fatal accidents involving forklifts each year in the United States
- 26% of forklift related deaths are caused by forklifts tipping over
- 20% of the workers killed in forklift accidents are on foot
- 18% of forklift accidents involve people being struck by forklifts
- 14% of forklift accidents occur due to loads falling off of forklifts
- 14% of forklift accidents occur when forklifts are used to elevate individuals
- 9% of forklift fatalities occur when a worker falls from the forklift
OSHA governs the rules for Forklift operation under [29 CFR 1910.178(l)], which became effective March 1, 1999. OSHA standards require all forklift operators to be trained and licensed. Operators must also undergo periodic forklift performance evaluations. A forklift operator that is involved in a forklift accident, a near accident or observed to be operating the forklift in an unsafe manner must undergo retraining.
OSHA requires all forklifts to undergo a thorough inspection before they are used on the job. A forklift shall not be used if an inspection reveals mechanical problems that could interfere with the safe operation of the forklift. If a forklift is used around the clock then it needs to be inspected at the beginning of very shift. [29 CFR 1910.178(q)(7)].
Operators should never drive a forklift up to someone that is standing in front of a bench or other fixed object [29 1910.178 (m)(1)]. This is to prevent crush injuries. Forklift operators should avoid turning if possible and need to exercise caution when driving up ramps or inclines. This is to prevent rollover, tip-over or turnover forklift accidents which are especially dangerous.
There are several common causes of workplace forklift accidents, which include the following:
- Defective or faulty parts are used in the forklift.
- Drivers failing to keep a proper viewpoint.
- Drivers traveling with oversized loads.
- Forklift operator is not licensed.
- Falling debris from a forklift strikes an individual.
- Forklift operators driving to fast and turning to sharply.
- Forklifts are poorly maintained or repaired.
- Forklifts tipping over and crush operator or bystander.
- Workers are crushed between the forklift and another surface.
- The load on the forklift is not properly secured.
- Safety equipment on the forklift fails to work including backup mirrors, backup alarms, and horns.
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Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys are able to secure the following benefits for injured workers and their families when workers sustain injuries for accidents that occur within the scope of the workers employment:
- Partial disability benefits,
- Temporary total disability benefits,
- Permanent and total disability benefits,
- Death benefits, and
- Scarring and disfigurement benefits.
If you or a loved one is injured in a forklift accident, do not hesitate to contact the Boston Work accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan. Our group of Boston Workplace Injury Attorneys with over 35 years of legal experience. Our legal counsel has helped individuals who have been injured in a number of work site accidents. Call our Brockton Work Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation.
Our Massachusetts Forklift and Industrial Accident Attorneys represent the residents of Plymouth County including Brockton, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Marshfield, Hingham, Duxbury, Wareham, Abington, Rockland, Whitman, Hanson, Middleborough; Norfolk County including Quincy, Stoughton, Dedham, Weymouth, Braintree, Avon, Holbrook, Randolph, Canton, Sharon, Brookline, Franklin; Bristol County including New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham, Norton; Cape Cod, Falmouth, Barnstable and the Greater Boston area including Cambridge, Lynn, Revere, Everett, Lawrence, Dorchester, Roxbury and Somerville