Forklifts are dangerous. Most people don’t realize how dangerous they really are until they work with them or witness a serious accident involving one.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are about 85 fatalities and around 34,900 people who end up seriously injured due to forklift injuries. Approximately 42% of those who are killed are crushed under the weight of the forklift after it tips over during operation.
Although OSHA has put rules in place that are designed to limit forklift injuries and deaths, those rules aren’t always followed. Some of the most common contributors to the accident toll include:
- The failure to enforce seat belt regulations
- Operating the forklift too fast
- Trying to lift a load that is too heavy for the equipment
- Lifting an unbalanced load
- Tilting loads forward at a high lift
- Letting the load obstruct the view of the driver
- Not having adequate “danger zones” marked out for pedestrians
- Not having adequate warning devices on forklifts to indicate they are backing up or in motion
- Poor lighting and excessive noise that contributes to confusion or driver distractions
- Grades and inclines that are angled too steeply
- Aisles that are too narrow for the forklift to properly maneuver
- Ramps without side rails
- Excessive traffic, including other lifts and pedestrians in warehouses during busy times
- Inexperienced operators who have been given the keys to a forklift without adequate training
Sometimes it isn’t entirely clear what lead to a forklift injury or death. Investigations may ensue, and victims or surviving family members may need to obtain legal representation to get the compensation that they deserve.