You’re not the only one to ask, “What are the main causes of injuries when using forklifts?” National safety organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ask this type of question regularly. Organizations like this want to know the main causes of forklift injuries so they can better protect workers.
Why Does It Matter?
Every year thousands of people miss work due to forklift injuries. Furthermore, almost one hundred people die each year from forklift injuries. Those are frightening numbers, especially if you work in an industry that uses forklifts.
What Are the Main Causes of Injuries When Using Forklifts?
If you work in a profession that involves forklifts, you should be wary of the following situations.
Using Forklifts Near Loading Docks
You aren’t likely to get hurt if you accidentally drive a forklift into a loading dock. Forklifts move reasonably slowly. And while you may damage the dock or the forklift, you are unlikely to suffer meaningful injuries.
However, you should be much more cautious when using a forklift on a loading dock. It is easy to lose track of the edge of the loading dock. And that means you might drive the forklift off the loading dock.
This can cause injuries in two different ways. First, you are likely to fall out of the forklift and it may fall on you. Second, the forklift you are driving might fall on someone below the dock.
Using Forklifts in Busy Areas
Forklift drivers aren’t the only people who should receive training in forklift safety. Anyone who works in the vicinity of a forklift should receive that training.
Forklifts need a much wider buffer zone than most people realize. They swing wide and can seriously hurt anyone they hit. In areas where lots of people are working, this can be very dangerous.
If you are operating a forklift in a busy area, you should pay attention to anyone who isn’t looking in your direction. These people are more likely to walk near your forklift and suffer injuries. You should also make liberal use of your horn and give verbal warnings to anyone who steps close.
Standing on a Forklift
Even if you’re not the driver of a forklift, you can suffer injuries. One of the more dangerous situations you may find yourself in is standing on a pallet on the forklift.
While pallets are relatively stable, that doesn’t mean you will be stable. You can easily lose your balance, especially if the forklift moves. And if you fall from that height, you will probably suffer a serious injury.
How to Best Avoid Forklift Injuries in the Workplace
Now that you know the answer to “What are the main causes of injuries when using forklifts?” you can put your knowledge to work.
Employers have the most power to prevent forklift injuries. They should require all workers to learn about forklift safety, even if they don’t operate forklifts. Employees who understand how forklifts move are more likely to avoid forklift injuries.
Similarly, employers should provide personal safety equipment to anyone who works with or near forklifts. OSHA requires certain types of employees to wear this gear. Unfortunately, it often isn’t required for some workers who are at risk.
If you are an employer or a manager, you can minimize the risk to your employees by requiring anyone near a forklift to wear protective gear. And if you are an employee, request safety equipment if you aren’t issued it.
Contact a Workplace Injury Lawyer After a Forklift Accident
Workplace injuries are almost always avoidable. If you were injured in the workplace, contact The Joel Bieber Firm right away. We will help you get the damages you need to recover from your injury quickly.