Forklifts are more necessary than ever, and not just for construction. With the rise of services such as Amazon, more warehouses are in operation to meet consumer demands, and forklifts are an absolute necessity. These vehicles may weigh up to 9,000 pounds, so a forklift accident can cause serious injury or death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 100 people die annually from forklift accidents, and another 20,000 suffer severe injuries. Annually, over 34,000 people are injured by forklifts.
Pedestrians and Forklift Accidents
Pedestrians are among the most frequent victims of forklift accidents. That’s often because the forklift operator’s view of people walking nearby is obstructed. Many times, the forklift driver is at fault because he or she was going too fast and could not stop in time, or they turned the machine toward someone walking alongside or in front of it.
Some forklift operators may allow passengers to ride on the vehicle, which is illegal, unless a seat is available. Forklift accidents and fatalities often involve these passengers.
When it comes to fatalities, a worker of the warehouse, construction site or factory is the most common victim.
- The primary cause of forklift fatalities results from an overturned vehicle
- Second are workers or other pedestrians struck by the forklift
- Third is the crushing of a victim by the forklift
- Operators falling from the forklift make up the fourth most common type of fatality
Poor Working Environments
Poor working environments or conditions play a role in forklift hazards. In a best-case scenario, operators should not have to deal with ramps, which are a frequent cause of accidents.
Operating on either slippery floors, or gravel or dirt, can cause operational problems, as can crossing railroad tracks. The latter unbalances the vehicle. Bad lighting may make it hard for the operator to see pedestrians or hazards in the path of the forklift as well.
Lack of Training
Lack of proper operator training is a major cause of forklift accidents. No one should operate a forklift without the necessary training and licensing. By taking simple precautions, operators can lower potential forklift hazards.
A properly trained operator will never lower or raise the forks while the vehicle is moving, or use the forklift to elevate other workers perched on the forks. They know better than to handle loads above the forklift’s capacity. Trained operators realize grades and ramps pose special dangers, so they are always cautious in such situations. If available, operators should always wear seat belts.
If a Forklift Accident Occurs
If you are involved in a forklift accident, get medical help immediately. This holds true even if you do not think your injuries are serious. If you delay having medical treatment, and it turns out your injuries are worse than you thought, the insurance company may claim you did not receive the injuries from the forklift accident.
If possible, use your cellphone to take photos or videos of the aftermath of the accident. Photograph anything in the vicinity that may have played a part in the incident. Report the incident to your employer at once, as well as the police for a formal report.
Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Construction Accident Victims
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a forklift or in any other type of construction accident, you need the services of the experienced Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. With offices throughout Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout the state, Delaware, and New Jersey. Contact us online or call 215-569-8488 for a free case consultation.