According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,021 workers were involved in fatal forklift accidents in the period from 1980 to 1994. Approximately 22 percent of those accidents were the result of the forklift being overturned, and all of those forklift accidents could have been prevented with proper training and supervision.
Identifying And Preventing Overturn Accidents
There are several reasons why forklifts overturn and create workplace incidents. Some of the more common reasons include:
- Improper balancing of the load on the forks
- Allowing a passenger on a forklift not designed for one
- Moving loads that are too heavy for the forklift to handle
- Using an improper speed
According to TruckingInfo.com, understanding the limitations of the forklift and only allowing responsible and licensed drivers to operate the machinery can help significantly reduce the number of overturn forklift accidents. Drivers who know the weight limitations of their forklift and who understand what speeds are safest for moving loads should be the ones who operate the machinery.
The Company Has Its Responsibilities As Well
Employers bear a significant responsibility when it comes to creating effective safety guidelines and reducing workplace incidents. Some of the ways employers encourage forklift accidents include:
- Creating unrealistic production schedules that force workers to rush through forklift activities
- Not assigning a safety office to each work area who is responsible to making sure that all safety rules are followed
- Not providing maintenance teams the proper tools and materials to maintain the forklifts
- Using forklifts that should be replaced
- Allowing personnel to operate the forklifts who have not been trained properly
Work conditions are often taken for granted when it comes to forklift accidents, but the data shows that employers can do more to create safer work areas and make sure that only qualified personnel work on and operate forklift machinery.
When there is a forklift accident, the entire blame rarely falls with the company. Workers have responsibilities when it comes to forklift safety that include:
- Using the forklift as it was intended to be used
- Not allowing other workers to ride on the forks and discouraging all horseplay
- Using the forklift like a warehouse taxi
- Not using proper backing up procedures
- Ignoring safety signs that could indicate unsafe areas for operating forklifts
- Not communicating properly when working as a team with more than one forklift
Workers have to honor the guidelines created by the company if there is to be a safe workplace. When workers create forklift accidents through their own negligence, then the company is often not found to be responsible for any injuries that may occur.
Injuries From Forklift Accidents
A forklift operator could be injured due to an improperly maintained forklift, or a warehouse worker could be injured by a forklift operator who has no regard for safety rules and the proper use of a forklift. If you have been injured in a forklift accident, then you may have a personal injury case against your employer or co-worker. Do not shy away from getting the compensation you need and deserve. Protect your rights in the event of a forklift accident.