More Than 8,000 Forklift Injuries Annually January 12, 2021
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), forklifts were the source of 79 work-related deaths and 8,140 nonfatal injuries in 2019. Forklift injuries and deaths most commonly result from transportation incidents or contact with object or equipment incidents. Equipment malfunction and operator error are two leading causes behind these forklift accidents, which is why providing employee training and ensuring that forklifts are safe to operate by inspecting them regularly and conducting daily equipment checks is key.
A forklift is a type of powered industrial truck that workers us to move materials. There are different kinds of forklifts; some are ridden by an operator while others are controlled by walking, remote operators. Individuals who work on or around forklifts are not only prone to experiencing injury from coming into contact with the forklift or from transportation incidents involving the machinery, but also from being struck by a forklift, getting caught in between a forklift’s moving parts, and falling, slipping, or tripping off the equipment. Some common injuries sustained by victims of forklift incidents include:
- Cuts, lacerations, and punctures
- Single or multiple bone fractures
- Bruises and contusions
- Muscle sprains, strains, and tears
- Multiple traumatic (e.g. internal, brain, spine, and neck) injuries
The median days away from work for injured workers is 8 days, but workers who are injured in forklift incidents miss an average of 16 workdays due to the severity of their injuries combined with how much time they needed to recover.
Preventing Forklift Accidents
Recognizing and addressing known hazards is one of the most effective ways to prevent forklift-related accidents from occurring. This is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has several standards in place that employers must follow in order to improve worker safety and to reduce preventable injury and incident rates. A lack of machine operation training, for example, is one of the known contributors for workplace forklift accidents. Safety research shows that the performance scores of forklift operators improve by 61% after they complete training. As part of their responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace, not only do employers need to provide adequate safety training but they also must provide proper supervision of employees to ensure safe machine operation. To view all of OSHA’s maintenance, training, and operation requirements for industrial forklifts, please visit: https://www.osha.gov/powered-industrial-trucks.
Another effective way to limit preventable forklift-related injuries is to conduct daily equipment checks and to inspect all forklift parts thoroughly. If a worker or supervisor observes a defective or broken part, it is critical to report it immediately. It is sometimes impossible to identify an unsafely manufactured forklift’s defect before a catastrophic accident happens. In many cases when the defective forklift malfunctions, an injured worker can obtain financial compensation from the manufacturers, marketers, or sellers of the faulty forklift.
Were You Injured in a Forklift Accident?
Although forklifts are one of the most useful tools to those who work in construction, warehouse, retail, and other industries that require the moving of heavy materials, they come with an array of associated hazards. Whether you were injured in a forklift incident because of your employer’s safety failures or as the result of a manufacturing or design defect, it is advisable to discuss what your legal options may be with an attorney. The successful outcome of a third-party lawsuit against an irresponsible manufacturer or a workers’ compensation claim against a negligent employer both rely heavily on the experience of a skilled attorney. If you would like to learn more, please contact a representative online now who can help.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Injured Workers Since 1947
Galfand Berger LLP has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.