It is Critical to Provide Forklift Safety Training
August 18, 2017
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) found that workers who lack basic forklift safety training are at an increased risk for injury and death while operating them. There are 62,000 non-serious injuries and 35,000 serious injuries from forklifts each year, so it is important that employers do as much to prevent worker injuries and deaths as possible.
The state department discovered that when workers operate forklifts carelessly, are untrained in the principles of physics that allow forklifts to pick up heavy loads, use ones that have missing parts or unapproved alterations or are unfamiliar with how a certain forklift works that their chance of getting injured or killed in a work accident goes up. It is the responsibility of employers to provide forklift safety training in order to ensure that workers know how to use the vehicles.
Forklifts are used across a variety of different industries. It is common to find them in warehouses, at construction sites and in factories. All in all, there are over 850,000 operational forklifts in the country, according to the Industrial Truck Association (ITA). The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) estimates that 1 out of every 10 forklifts will be involved in an accident as a result of inadequate training or carelessness.
Safety and Health magazine reports that the most important rule of thumb for operating forklifts is to always wear a seatbelt. If an operator fails to use a seatbelt and the forklift crashes or rolls over, he or she can be thrown from its protective cage. OSHA’s data shows that 85 people die every year in forklift-related accidents, so preventive safety measures are critical.
OSHA has found that certain types of forklift accidents are the most likely to result in worker fatalities. Common causes of forklift injuries include being crushed by a forklift tipping over, being stuck between the forklift and a stationary surface, being crushed in between two vehicles, being struck or run over by a forklift, being hit by falling material, or falling from the forklift’s platform.
In the case of most forklift tip-overs, OSHA recommends that workers stay inside the vehicle, even if it is rolling over. This can help to limit the severity of injuries. Other safety tips include:
- Get training before operating a forklift;
- Make sure loads are properly secured;
- Keep loads low to help the vehicle remain stable;
- Always stay in the vehicle while it is in use;
- Wear a seatbelt;
- Drive slowly and pay attention to conditions;
- Check your surroundings, especially before putting the vehicle in reverse, and;
- Keep the load uphill when driving up or down an incline.
The ITA notes that forklifts have a shelf life of eight years, so it is important that employers make sure not only that a forklift is properly serviced, but also that it is not dangerously old.
It is important that workers who will be operating forklifts do so with caution, since being careless can result in someone losing their life. The majority of forklift accidents are not the result of carelessness but rather the failure of an employer to implement and require adequate safety training and supervision. Because of how dangerous these failures can be, it is actually a federal crime to operate a forklift without training (it is also illegal for anyone under 18 to operate one). It is imperative that employers ensure that employees are adequately trained and know how to operate a forklift safely in order to limit the number of dangerous and deadly injuries that occur.
Reading Forklift Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Help Injured Victims
If you or a loved one was injured in a forklift accident, please call our forklift accident lawyers in Reading. We are happy to answer your questions and review your case for free. At Galfand Berger, our offices are located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.