With more than 1 million forklifts in operation every working day, these are one of the most commonly used pieces of equipment on construction sites across the nation. They are also one of the most dangerous.
Operators must be properly trained and certified to operate a forklift safely, and must adhere to the rules and regulations regarding both training and operation of the vehicle. Forklifts must be maintained correctly avoid tragic accidents. Nonetheless, forklift accidents are common, often leading to permanent or fatal injuries.
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP can represent anyone injured by a forklift — operators, co-workers or bystanders. Our legal team will identify all liable parties in pursuit of the compensation for serious injury or wrongful death.
We know your rights and fight for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Forklift Safety and Types of Forklift Accidents
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Workers have the right to a safe place to work. Federal and state law requires employers to provide working conditions that are free from hazards that put workers’ lives in danger, including the unsafe operation of forklifts.
Trainees are restricted from operating these industrial trucks unless they are under the direct supervision of another person who has the knowledge, training and experience to evaluate the trainee’s ability to operate the vehicle safely. Training for forklift operators should include extensive formal instruction, practical application and an evaluation of performance, with a focus on safe operation. The forklift itself must be correctly maintained to avoid accidents from equipment malfunction or failure.
There are various types of forklift accidents that are the direct result of operator error or equipment failure, or management that demands some type of activity that puts the driver or other workers at risk of injury. These forklift accidents include the following examples:
- Employee stuck by forklift.
- Forklift tip-over.
- Fall from platform on forklift.
- Crushed by forklift.
- Struck by load toppling from forklift.
- Fall from forks.
- Fall from pallet.
- Fall from ladder struck by forklift.
- Fall from scaffolding struck by forklift.
- Equipment failure.
An injury case related to a forklift accident may require an extensive investigation into the facts in order to determine the cause of the accident, who was responsible and what parties can be held legally accountable. Our object in each case we take on is to identify the liable party or parties, and to then pursue the maximum possible in damages.
Types of Injuries in Forklift Accidents
The consequences of a forklift accident are often tragic, with one or more workers seriously injured or killed. When a worker survives, it may be with severe impairments that limit mobility or have led to cognitive disabilities in cases of a head injury.
The following are some of the injuries that are often sustained in accidents involving forklifts:
- Crush injuries.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Spinal cord injury.
- Broken bones (fractures).
- Severe lacerations, disfigurement.
- Internal injuries.
Improper Maintenance of Forklifts
All forklifts are required to be correctly maintained. Under federal occupational safety law 1910.178(p)(1), there are rules regarding the use of forklifts that are in need of repair, defective or unsafe. The law requires that this equipment is immediately taken out of operation.
Safety issues that must be corrected include the operation of any gauges. All broken welds, missing bolts or any damage to the overhead guard make the vehicle unsafe for use. Tires missing large pieces of rubber also present a risk to the operator, and these conditions are required to be repaired before the vehicle is put back into operation on a construction site.
All repairs must be undertaken by a facility that replaces parts with others that are equal to those originally installed on the equipment. The forklift must be examined for defects or other safety issues prior to being put into operation on a construction site. A failure to do so can lead to serious injuries to the operator or other workers on the site.
After a forklift accident, it may be discovered that the company leasing or operating the vehicle was negligent and violated federal safety standards. That party could be held accountable and required to pay damages to an injured construction worker.
Our Firm can Help you Seek Justice after a Forklift Accident
The legal team at Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP stands ready to help you to seek justice and the maximum compensation you deserve. The amount recovered will be based upon the degree of the injuries suffered, who was responsible, what laws were violated and other factors.
Employees injured by forklift mishaps are entitled to workers’ compensation. However, many injured workers do not realize they may have claims beyond workers’ comp. We explore personal injury lawsuits against third parties such as forklift manufacturers, property owners and subcontractors to maximize compensation for serious and disabling accidents.
Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case. We are committed to your full recovery or appropriate compensation for lasting harm.
- OSHA: Summaries of Selected Forklift Fatalities Investigated by OSHA
- OSHA: Occupational Safety Standards