Forklifts can make employees’ jobs much easier in a variety of industries. They transport materials on construction sites and take the load off employees to prevent them from overexerting themselves.
There is no doubt that these machines are helpful, but they can also be incredibly dangerous. Forklift accidents might not be too common, but there are still more than 30,000 serious work injuries each year resulting from forklift related accidents. So, here is a look at when employees are most at risk of suffering an injury in a forklift accident.
When do these accidents happen the most?
Accidents involving workplace equipment, such as a forklift, are the second most common causes of serious work injuries. These accidents can occur in any circumstance.
However, there are a few factors that can significantly increase the chance of a forklift accident, including, but not limited to:
- Lack of proper training: Usually, the primary cause of a forklift accident is the driver’s lack of training. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strict standards for forklift operation. Employers must train drivers to be safe at all times while operating a forklift. According to OSHA, proper employee training could reduce the rate of forklift accidents by 70%.
- Reckless operation: This often ties in with the lack of proper training. If drivers are negligent by engaging in horseplay or speeding in the forklift, their reckless actions could increase the risk of an accident.
- Improper maintenance: Old or improperly maintained forklifts could also pose a risk to industrial workers. This increases the chances of brakes or the lift malfunctioning, which can cause the forklift to tip over.
- Work environment: Narrow aisles or clutter on the floor can make it difficult to maneuver the forklift, which, in turn, could cause a crash that could injure both the driver or a pedestrian worker.
- Heavy loads: The purpose of a forklift is to lift heavier loads. However, if loads are too heavy or unevenly loaded, the forklift could tip or crash, and pin workers beneath the machine.
Maryland employees who suffer an accidental injury from a forklift accident can collect workers’ compensation (Maryland Code, Labor & Employment § 9-501). However, if employees are aware of these risks, they can take the necessary precautions to prevent an accident in the first place.