Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Discuss Forklift AccidentsOctober 21, 2015
Powered industrial trucks, commonly called forklifts or lift trucks, are used in many work settings to lift, push and stack heavy materials. These powerful machines have become an indispensible piece of equipment in nearly every manufacturing plant, construction site, lumberyard, warehouse and dockyard across America. Unfortunately, they can also be extremely dangerous if proper precautions are not taken.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) estimates that 11% of all forklifts are involved in workplace accidents each year. Many of these accidents cause serious and in some cases fatal injuries. OSHA estimates that roughly 85 people are killed and nearly 35,000 are seriously injured each year in forklift accidents. The most common types of fatal forklift accidents include:
- Forklift overturns, crushing worker underneath – 42%: Forklifts can have a high center of gravity, making them prone to tipping. Factors that may increase that risk include: speeding; improper turning; and operating on rough or uneven surfaces, or on a hill or incline.
- Worker is pinned between a forklift and another vehicle or surface –36%: Many of these accidents were the result of operator error stemming from a lack of proper training, driver not paying attention or horseplay.
- Worker is struck or run over by forklift – 10%: Taking proper precautions, such as maintaining a speed of five mph or slower, and use of warning signals can lower the risk of these types of accidents.
- Worker is struck by falling material – eight percent: Proper loading and prior inspection of cargo can help to avoid many of these types of accidents.
Studies conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health have shown employers can do more to keep workers who operate or work near forklifts safe from injury. Workplace factors that can greatly increase the risk of death or severe injury include:
- Untrained or improperly trained forklift operators
- Production factors such as speed or stress
- Lack of proper tools, attachment and accessories
- Insufficient supervision
- Poor maintenance of forklifts
- Improper or non-functioning warning systems
- Narrow aisles
- Crowded or cluttered aisles
- Improperly stacked or overloaded cargo
- Too many pedestrians in area of forklift operation
- Changing floor gradients and ramps
- Cracks, crumbling edges and other defects on operating surfaces
- Other workplace conditions such as dust, noise, toxic fumes and poor lighting
- Forklift malfunction
Behavioral and Operational Factors
Workers can also take steps to protect themselves and others from a deadly forklift accident by avoiding certain dangerous behaviors including:
- Traveling too fast
- Distracted driving
- Improper turning, backing or braking
- Failure to use seatbelt or other safety restraint
- Driving with an elevated load
- Workers riding on the forklift
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Obtain Compensation for Workers Injured in Forklift Accidents
Injuries sustained in a forklift accident can be catastrophic, often affecting multiple parts of the body including crushed or broken bones, injuries to internal organs, traumatic brain injuries and amputations. The pain, suffering and expense of such injuries can affect an entire family. If you or a loved one has been injured in a forklift accident at work, contact Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton to learn about your rights and legal options.
You may be entitled to more than just Workers’ Compensation. Contact us online or call 844-556-4LAW (4529) to arrange your free consultation with one of our dedicated and highly skilled Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers. A qualified member of our legal team is available to take your call 24 hours a day.