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The importance of forklift safety and training

forklift safety

You can operate a forklift on the job in Philadelphia for years with no problems, but tragedy can strike in the blink of an eye, causing serious and even crippling injuries. Read on to learn more about forklift accidents.

The Dangers of Forklifts

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates fork-lifts account for 61,800 minor injuries, 34,900 serious injuries, and 85 deaths every year. In fact, industry statistics say a forklift has a 90% chance of being involved in serious injury or fatal accident during its lifetime. One out of every six workplace deaths involves a forklift.

The most common type of forklift accidents are:

  • Crushed by vehicle tipping over: 42%
  • Crushed between vehicle and surface: 25%
  • Crushed between two vehicles: 11%
  • Struck or run over by forklift: 10%
  • Struck by falling material: 8%
  • Fall from platform on forks: 4%

Safety Tips for Operators and Managers

Common sense is a forklift operator’s best protection against an accident.

Operators should always:

  • Sound a horn when approaching entrances, doorways, and corners.
  • Drive slowly.
  • Practice extra caution in narrow spaces and when making turns.
  • Check the security and stability of the payload.
  • Frequently inspect their vehicle for repair and maintenance issues.
  • Be seated and secured before operating a forklift.
  • Be aware of their surroundings, using a lookout when visibility is an issue.
  • Never drive when on medication that may impair their motor skills.

Other workers have a role to play, too. They should maintain a safe distance from forklifts that are in use, never ride on a forklift and be certain to keep driving areas clear of tools, machinery, debris, and other obstacles.

The best way for employers to avoid on-the-job injuries among their work-force is to follow OSHA guidelines, including the requirement for operator certification. All companies using forklifts also are required to implement a program that covers potential safety hazards. The best programs provide a mix of formal instruction, practical education, worker evaluations, and testing.

Employers should:

  • Certify that each forklift operator has received the training.
  • Evaluate operators at least once every three years.
  • Retrain operators who use forklifts in an unsafe manner.
  • Recertify workers when their certification expires.

Legal Tips for Injured Workers

Unfortunately, accidents happen. Operators make mistakes. Machinery malfunctions. Employers fail to provide adequate safety training. Regardless of the cause, if you have been injured in a forklift accident, you may have suffered serious or even crippling lifelong injuries, including broken bones and the possible loss of a limb. As you pursue a worker's compensation or Social Security disability claim, it's common to run into obstacles that make it tough for you to obtain the benefits you deserve. In the meantime, you are out of work and unable to support your family. Your attempts to pursue your claim will find you lost in a bureaucracy seemingly designed to confuse and frustrate you at every turn. An innocent mistake on your part can undermine your entire case and jeopardize your future.

Fortunately, you do not have to fight your battle alone. The Law Offices of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC, has more than 35 years of experience handling more than 1,000 workers' compensation and Social Security disability claims just like yours in the Philadelphia area. Contact us today for a free case consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we win your case.

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