Heavy mobile equipment such as forklifts and cranes are commonly used in construction and manufacturing. Operating such equipment not only takes an extensive amount of training and experience, but also requires the ability to identify defects and fix them when needed.
Simply inspecting equipment and fixing mechanical issues is a crucial step in preventing accidents from occurring. Additionally, machines should be turned off when they aren’t in use.
Risks associated with forklifts
A recent fatal workplace accident in Lancaster, PA illustrates how dangerous forklifts can be. A worker died due to injuries to his head and body after being pinned under a forklift.
Accidents like this are mostly prevalent in the manufacturing industry, accounting for 42 percent of all incidents.
In addition, the construction industry experiences roughly 24 percent of forklift accidents.
Causes of forklift accidents often include:
- Tip-overs, often caused by uneven weight distribution – (42%)
- Workers trapped between forklifts and objects – (25%)
- Workers trapped between two forklifts – (11%)
- Workers being struck or run over – (10%)
- Workers struck by loads being transported – (8%)
- Workers falling off forklifts – (4%)
In order to prevent forklift accidents, it’s critical to follow these safety procedures set forth by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA):
- Make sure forklifts are properly maintained and inspected before using
- Ensure that workers are adequately trained before operating forklifts
- Before transporting items, make sure they are properly secured, centered, and wrapped on a pallet.
Crane accident risks
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 220 reported deaths involving cranes across the United States from 2011-2015. They occurred primarily in the construction industry (42%) and the manufacturing industry (42%). Pennsylvania had the fifth most fatal crane accidents, with a total of 10 fatal crane accidents during that time.
Workers or bystanders being struck by objects or equipment made up roughly half of all fatal crane accidents.
OSHA suggests the following safety procedures before or when operating a crane:
- Make sure cranes are properly maintained and inspected before operating
- Fix any defects found during an inspection and make sure all components properly work
- Post the recommended operating speed, load capacity, and instructions for operators
- Make sure that the crane is on a firm and flat surface
- Keep pathways clear
- Keep a clearance distance of 10 feet away from power lines
- Guard all rotating machine parts to avoid contact with workers
- Before modifying or changing any components, get a written approval from the manufacturer
Injured in a workplace accident? Speak to a workers’ compensation attorney today.
Heavy mobile machinery can be dangerous to work around and can often make workers susceptible to serious injuries. If you were injured in a workplace accident in Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices Of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC can help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
Contact us today to set up your free consultation.