• John Larrimer

Are Forklifts a Major Workplace Safety Threat?

Tens of thousands of workers are harmed by forklift accidents every year. Statistics compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) show there are 85 deaths caused by forklifts annually. In addition, another 97,000 suffer injuries. These are not small, lightweight vehicles. Fully loaded forklifts can weigh as much as several passenger cars.

OSHA estimates 70 percent of forklift injuries and deaths are preventable. Speeding, poor training programs, overloading, improper turning and lack of signage to warn workers of forklift traffic are all reasons why these incidents happen. The layout of workplaces (narrow hallways or poor spacing) can also lead to forklift injuries and deaths.

How Can Employers Prevent Forklift Accidents?

There are multiple ways employers can prevent forklift accidents.

  1. Employers can create training programs teaching workers how to drive, maintain and load forklifts. Overloading and dangerous driving are major causes of accidents involving these vehicles. Workers should understand these risks before operating a forklift.

  2. Workplaces where forklifts are used should be free of clutter and heavy foot traffic. In addition, forklifts should never be used if there is inadequate space. Signage should warn other workers forklifts are operating nearby.

  3. Employers can teach workers, not only drivers, how to work around these vehicles. For example, workers should know the dangers of walking underneath raised forks or behind forklifts.

  4. Strict forklift safety policies can address horseplay or irresponsible driving.

Can Workers Harmed by Forklift Accidents Receive Workers Comp?

Workers injured by forklifts may have multiple options for compensation. For example, workers’ comp, disability benefits or filing third party lawsuits may be possible options. Injured workers or their family members can contact the Ohio workers comp attorneys at Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC to discover which options are available.

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