Nearly 100,000 people in the U.S. are injured or killed in forklift accidents, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Forklifts are frequently used in construction and warehousing. Workers in those industries are at risk of being injured due to inadequate safety standards, poor equipment maintenance, insufficient employee training, and other possible causes.
Causes of Forklift Accidents and Injuries
Forklifts are powered industrial vehicles that help workers by lifting and moving heavy loads. However, these useful trucks also pose several hazards. Some common causes of forklift accidents include:
- Excessive loads: Forklifts can tip over if they are overloaded. Nearby employees may become crushed and killed either by the forklift (which can weigh anywhere from five to ten thousand pounds), or by the falling load, especially if there is no rollover protection system/structure in place.
- Struck-by falling object: Objects and materials that are not properly secured may fall onto workers, causing serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI), broken bones, and internal injuries. Being struck-by an object is one of the four most common causes of construction worker fatalities, according to OSHA.
- Inadequate maintenance: Forklifts, like other vehicles and equipment, must be maintained and serviced regularly to ensure they are functioning properly. If inadequately maintained, forklifts may malfunction and cause injury to workers.
- Unsafe operation: Workers must be trained and certified to operate a forklift. If workers who have not been adequately trained are allowed to operate a forklift, they may inadvertently injure themselves as well as others in the vicinity.
- Manufacturing Defects: Sometimes, a design or manufacturing flaw causes a forklift to be extremely dangerous. Workers who are injured due to defective forklift parts may be able to sue the manufacturer in a third-party liability claim.
Forklift Accident Prevention
OSHA encourages employers to help prevent forklift accidents by following safety guidelines and procedures pertaining to their operation and maintenance.
Some ways to prevent forklift accidents include:
- Chocking the wheels
- Equipping forklifts with overhead masts
- Regularly checking the engine, brakes, and hydraulics
- Ensuring that controls and displays are visible
- Examining forklift prior to use
- Designating safe areas for pedestrians
- Providing adequate lighting for work areas
Workers’ Compensation for Forklift Injuries
South Carolina workers must report their workplace injuries to their employers within 90 days to remain eligible for Workers’ Compensation. Benefits include compensation for medical expenses, disability, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits.
Workers may collect Workers’ Compensation regardless of fault. However, if someone other than the employer caused the accident (such as a forklift part manufacturer), they may also be able to collect additional damages for pain and suffering via a third-party liability claim.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Workers Get Benefits for Forklift Injuries
If you were injured in a forklift accident, contact a Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Our experienced lawyers know what it takes to file a successful claim and can help you get maximum compensation for your injuries. Submit an online inquiry form or call us at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 to arrange a consultation today.
From our six office locations in South Carolina we serve clients throughout the state, including Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.