Forklifts are vital equipment in the warehouse, construction and manufacturing industries. From loading trucks to lifting heavy equipment, forklifts make workers and businesses more productive.
However, according to the National Safety Council, forklift accidents accounted for over 7000 non-fatal workplace injuries in 2020. All employees that work around forklifts should know the common types of accidents that may result in workers’ compensation claims or third-party lawsuits.
1. Unsecured loads
Forklifts can elevate heavy loads to stack items and maximize space. Sometimes operators have to move overhead loads to another location. Even small movements may cause the load to fall if the product is not adequately secured. Heavy items can land on workers or the driver below, causing crush injuries, lacerations and concussions.
2. Lift rollovers
Lift trucks are heavy in the back to help balance the front load. When not transporting goods, forklifts can become unbalanced on declines or uneven surfaces or when the operator turns too quickly. Unsecured drivers may fall and get crushed by the equipment. Serious injuries, such as crushed bones and impalements, can lead to permanent disfigurement and amputations.
3. Blocked views
Forklift operators must use care when transporting loads. The tines carry the load off the ground, often blocking the driver’s view. Not seeing upcoming dangers may cause the driver to slide off docks, crash into people or collide with fixed structures. Not only are these accidents often catastrophic if someone gets run over, but the driver may get thrown from the lift, causing head or spinal injuries.
Knowing that injuries resulting from forklift accidents may qualify under workers’ compensation or personal injury lawsuits enables employees to seek damages from all responsible parties.