Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Forklifts are one of the most common pieces of equipment used at warehouses, factories, retail outlets, and other establishments where heavy materials must be moved or lifted from one area to another. For warehouse and factory workers, forklifts help reduce many of the common musculoskeletal injuries that can occur after repetitive lifting of heavy objects. Unfortunately, when employees are not properly trained on how to operate the vehicle, or if the forklift is not maintained according to safety standards, serious workplace accidents can occur, causing a range of potentially life-threatening injuries to employees. Employees who have been injured in a forklift accident may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, which provide peace of mind by covering the costs of medical care and lost wages, as well as death benefits in the event of a fatal work accident.
Common Causes of Forklift Accidents
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 85 people are fatally injured every year in forklift accidents in the United States, and another 35,000 are seriously injured. There are a variety of factors that can cause a forklift accidents, including the following:
- Forklift driver collides with a shopper
- Operator mistakenly drives the forklift off the loading dock
- Forklift could fall if the ramp connecting the truck to the dock gets knocked over
- Material that is being carried by the forklift becomes dislodged and falls onto the driver or another person in the vicinity
- Two forklifts collide
Types of Forklift Accidents
Oftentimes, forklift accidents occur when employers prioritize getting the job done quickly over making sure that the proper safety standards are being followed. The following are some of the most common types of forklift accidents:
- Tipping over: If the forklift is overloaded, it is more likely to tip over. When this happens, the driver or any individuals in the vicinity can be crushed or severely injured. A Roll Over Protection System can be installed in most forklifts, which can help avoid such accidents.
- Falling debris: All forklifts being used at construction sites should have an “All Falling Object Protection System” installed in order to protect the driver from falling objects.
- Driver ejection: To protect the driver from falling out of the machine, the driver seat of the forklift should have seat belts, arm rests, and grab handles.
- Hitting pedestrians: If a forklift is not equipped with an automatic signal alarm, the operator can hit a pedestrian who may not notice the oncoming forklift.
- Elevating workers: Improper use of a forklift, including the lifting of workers, can cause serious injuries if the worker falls or the operator loses control of the machine.
- Unsafe driving conditions: Forklifts should not be operated when there is low visibility, narrow or congested pathways, or any other unsafe conditions whereby driving the forklift could injure the driver or other employees.
- Electrocutions: Forklift operators can be electrocuted if the machine comes in contact with a live wire.
How to Prevent Forklift Accidents
Safety should always be a top priority for employers. The following tips can help prevent dangerous forklift accidents from occurring in the workplace:
- Ensure that all safety devices on the forklift are in proper working order.
- The controls and displays on the vehicle must be clearly visible.
- The forklift should come equipped with the recommended safety tools and accessories.
- Forklifts should only be handled by properly trained operators.
- If there are any defects or damage to the forklift, it should not be used until it has been repaired.
- Keep the work area clean and free of any debris or obstructions that could reduce visibility or affect the safety of the forklift operator and those in the surrounding area.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Forklift Accidents
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a forklift accident at work, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will walk you through every step of the claims process, ensuring that your legal rights are protected. Our skilled team will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the full benefits to which you are entitled. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.