Forklift injuries number in the tens of thousands nationwide each year. If you work anywhere in construction, or where there is a warehouse or palletized deliveries, there is at least one forklift in operation. A forklift is generally known as a propane or electric powered machine, driven by a sitting or standing operator, used for vertical lifting and stacking of palletized materials. There are also forklifts of much heftier proportion used for lifting roofing materials, steel beams and even junk cars. These are telescopic, lifting both vertically and horizontally, designed for operation on rough terrain.
The one thing that all forklifts have in common is their inherent danger of causing injury. Workers are commonly injured and even killed by forklift injuries across the country and Florida is no exception. In September of 2014 a worker in St Petersburg was crushed to death by a forklift when it rolled over on him. He was carrying a steel beam when he struck a pile of beams on the ground causing the lift to become off balance and tip over. In June of this year a 62 year old man was critically injured in Jacksonville when part of the forklift he was operating came down on both his arms. There are numerous ways that workers on or near a forklift may be injured. Most of these forklift injuries are caused by human error.
How Forklift Injuries Occur
A forklift may drop its payload or even tip over when it becomes off balance by carrying an overweight or oversize load, hitting a person below or injuring the operator. A moving forklift may strike a worker who gets into its path. Workers have been known to fall from riding on forklift blades to reach high elevations, a very careless practice. Workers may also be injured by tripping over forklift blades and falling or receiving knee, leg, head or facial injuries from forklifts left parked with the blades elevated.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration prohibits anyone who is under the age of 18, or who has not completed proper training, from operating a forklift. OSHA also requires that forklifts undergo daily safety inspections and employers must provide training to forklift operators in conducting those inspections and required maintenance. Not only can failure to follow OSHA regulations for maintaining a safe workplace result in fines and penalties to employers, it may result in injury and death of workers. Employers can be held legally accountable for any injuries due to workplace negligence of any kind.
The design and construction standards of forklifts, as well as other industrial trucks, must comply with federal regulations requiring testing by an approved testing company and bear a sticker indicating completion.
If You Are Injured
With all of the safety regulations that are in place, forklift accidents still occur to workers and operators mostly due to human error or negligence. These on the job accidents are typically covered by workers compensation to pay for medical bills. A worker covered by workers compensation may not sue his employer for additional compensation for an injury that happened in the workplace. However that does not exempt a third party such as a subcontractor, building owner, an equipment manufacturer or maintenance company from liability. Any worker injured by a forklift or any other workplace accident should contact a workers compensation attorney or personal injury attorney without hesitating. The attorney can determine the fault in the accident and go over all options.
Dolman Law Group has helped countless victims of workplace injuries to recover the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, do not wait to contact an attorney as time can limit your ability to collect. Reach out to Dolman Law Group by calling us at (727) 853-6275 today for a free consultation about your case.
Dolman Law Group
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New Port Richey, FL 34652