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Design Defects And Improper Training At Center Of Forklift Accidents

Jason Reese

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 1 million forklifts, or powered industrial trucks, are used in workplaces across the United States. Each year, nearly 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 are seriously injured in forklift-related incidents. These trucks remain extremely dangerous given the size and weight. Workers can be seriously injured in rollover accidents, crushed by falling objects and carrying cargo, or even run over by forklift operators who are not paying attention or are not following all safety protocols set in place to prevent careless operation.

In most construction and manufacturing industries forklifts are used everyday to lift heavy loads and transport supplies. They can either be ridden by a trained operator or controlled by a walking operator. It is a violation of Federal law for anyone under the age of 18 to operate a forklift or for anyone over 18-years-old who is not properly trained and certified to do so. OSHA officials say, “Employers must ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation.” This means only certain individuals are trained and approved to operate this machinery, as it takes special learned skills to control such vehicles. However, even the most experienced forklift operators can be involved in a catastrophic accident ending with a tragic workplace injury or even death.

OSHA research has shown that both defective and failing products such as overhead guards, backrest extensions, blades and restraint systems, or improper training and maintenance are at the center of most forklift accidents and injuries, leaving the employer liable. When this happens, the injured person may have a case to support their need for compensation to cover lost wages, medical bills and related healthcare expenses, disability payments, pain and suffering including emotional distress, as well as other needs specific to their case.

WHAT TO DO IF INJURED IN A FORKLIFT ACCIDENT

If someone has been injured in a forklift accident or other industrial vehicle accident, they should follow these steps.

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Notify your employer and file an injury or accident report.
  • Preserve legal rights by hiring an attorney because the employer has likely already done the same. Contact a work construction accident lawyer at Wagner Reese to assist you in gathering evidence and filing your suit.
  • Collect statements from witnesses and coworkers at the event.
  • Never sign or agree to anything your employer gives you without first consulting with your lawyer.

Forklift accidents can have lifelong, disastrous outcomes and the injuries can be more than physical. But all workers have the right to a safe workplace; in fact the law requires it by prohibiting employers from reacting against employees for raising a health and safety concern or reporting an injury.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Sample Daily Checklist for Powered Industrial Trucks (OSHA)

Forklift Training and Evaluation (OSHA)

Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA)

If you sustained an injury from a jobsite forklift accident, Stephen Wagner and Jason Reese can handle your accident work injury claim with years of experience and proven results. Call the law firm of Wagner Reese today (888) 204-8440for your FREE consultation!

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