While forklifts represent a commonly-used piece of equipment in many workplaces, such as factories, warehouses, and construction sites, these devices represent one of the most dangerous types of machinery in workplaces. The statistics from forklift accidents show how serious an issue forklift accidents can be for employers and workers.
OSHA Forklift Accident Statistics
While forklift accidents represent about only one percent of all workplace accidents, these accidents account for as much as 10 percent of all workplace injuries.
According to data compiled by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, forklift accidents cause around 85 deaths each year, in addition to causing about 35,000 serious injuries and 62,000 non-serious injuries annually. This works out to an average of one fatality and 95 serious injuries every single day from forklift accidents.
Overturning represents the most common type of forklift accident, accounting for about a quarter of all forklift accidents. Over one-third of all forklift accident fatalities involve someone other than the forklift operator. About one in 10 of all forklifts in the U.S. will be involved in an accident at some point in the year.
Reasons Why Forklift Accidents Happen
Arguably, the most common cause of forklift accidents involves a lack of training and safety procedures for forklifts. OSHA estimates that about 70 percent of all forklift accidents could be avoided with better training and safety procedures. However, many employers and workplaces simply let any employee use a forklift, regardless if they have gone through the required training and certification to operate the forklift.
Other common causes of forklift accidents include:
- Reckless operation, including making a maneuver beyond the safe handling limits of the forklift.
- Overloading with cargo or unsecured cargo.
- Operator view obstructed by cargo.
- Improper use of the forklift, such as using the forks to lift someone up on a platform (rather than using more appropriate equipment such as a ladder, scissor lift, or cherry picker).
- Inadequate inspections and maintenance
- Lack of protection equipment on both the forklift (to protect the operator) and in the workplace (to protect other workers).
Steps to Take If You’ve Been Injured in a Forklift Accident
If you have been hurt in a forklift accident at work, you can take steps to get the financial compensation you need for your recovery:
- Notify your employer of the accident and injury as soon as possible. If you wait to report a workplace injury, you may jeopardize your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Take photos of the forklift and the area where the accident occurred.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible to identify all the injuries you may have suffered.
- Follow all treatment instructions and recommendations, otherwise you may be cleared to return to work even if you are still hurt.
- Keep copies of any bills, receipts, and invoices for expenses you have incurred.
Finally, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your potential legal rights and options for seeking financial recovery, including filing a workers’ compensation claim or possibly a third-party personal injury claim.
Contact an Edison Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although New Jersey Workers’ Compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. represent clients in Perth Amboy, Middletown, Howell, Lakewood, and all across New Jersey. Call (732) 906-1500 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 1862 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ 08820, and we also have offices in Edison, Brick, Freehold, and Point Pleasant Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.