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What Are the Main Causes of Injuries When Using Forklifts?

What Are the Main Causes of Injuries When Using Forklifts

Forklift use is widespread across numerous industries and integral to warehouse operations, construction sites, and manufacturing. Unfortunately, while forklifts are essential to lifting and moving heavy materials, forklift accidents are not uncommon, posing significant risks to operators and those working nearby. 

So, what are the main causes of injuries when using forklifts? This article delves into common forklift accidents, shedding light on contributing factors, such as lack of proper training, poor communication, and operator error. In addition, the article stresses the importance of hiring a board-certified forklift accident attorney. Recognizing why forklift accidents occur is the first step in preventing them and ensuring a safe work environment. But when all else fails, working with a skilled attorney protects your rights, ensuring a smoother, more successful settlement and recovery process.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Forklift Injuries?

Nearly 1 million powered industrial trucks (forklifts) operate in US companies today. So it’s not surprising that forklift injuries come in many forms, ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures and even fatalities. But what are the main causes of injuries when using forklifts? The most common injuries occur when:

  • Workers accidentally drive lift trucks off loading docks;
  • Lifts plummet into the gap between docks and an unsecured trailer;
  • Lifts roll or overturn;
  • Lift trucks hit someone; and 
  • When a worker falls from elevated pallets and tines.

Understanding why these hazards occur is crucial to mitigating them. Next, we will explore some of the reasons.

What Are the Main Reasons for a Forklift Accident at Work?

Understanding the primary reasons for forklift accidents that lead to forklift injury is crucial for staying safe, avoiding these injuries, and implementing effective preventive measures. The following are the most common reasons for workplace forklift accidents.

Lack of Proper Training

One of the primary causes of forklift accidents is inadequate training. Operating a forklift requires specialized skills and knowledge of safety procedures. Operators who are untrained and uncertified on the specific forklift model they are using or those unfamiliar with safety protocols are more likely to struggle to navigate the vehicle safely, increasing the likelihood of collisions, tip-overs, and other accidents. Employers must prioritize forklift safety training and education and workplace safety protocols. Regular safety initiatives and ongoing refresher courses also help strengthen best practices and promote a culture of organizational safety.

Operator Error

Another leading cause of forklift injuries is operator error. Operator error can occur when operators lack proper training or are negligent in following operational procedures. Mishandling controls and driving at excessive speeds can lead to tipping, collisions, or dropping loads, which can cause severe injuries. Additionally, distractions such as using mobile phones or engaging in non-work-related conversations while operating a forklift can compromise reaction time, leading to serious accidents, including collisions with nearby obstacles or pedestrians.

Poor Workplace Layout and Design

A workplace not designed with forklift operations in mind can contribute to accidents. Poor visibility, congested or narrow aisles, improper stacking, insufficient signage, and lack of pedestrian walkways can create hazardous conditions for forklift operations, increasing the risk of collisions and injuries. Cluttered or unstable storage areas also pose a significant risk. Employers should design work environments to minimize potential accidents, implementing clear signage, designated traffic lanes, and unobstructed pathways.

Improper Maintenance and Mechanical Failures

Forklifts that are not regularly inspected and serviced are more prone to mechanical issues, such as hydraulic lift failures, brake malfunctions, and steering problems, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Employers must prioritize routine maintenance and promptly address any issues identified during inspections to ensure safe forklift operations.

Poorly Secured Loads

Improperly secured or imbalanced loads can shift during transport, causing a forklift to tip or the materials to fall, potentially leading to injury. Operators need to ensure loads are evenly distributed and secure before moving them.

Lack of Communication

Improper communication and coordination among workers and failure to establish clear pedestrian and forklift interaction protocols can lead to misunderstandings and unsafe practices. Employers should encourage open communication between forklift operators and other personnel, emphasizing the importance of signaling, being aware of surroundings, and exercising caution in shared workspaces.

Why Do I Need a Board-Certified Forklift Accident Lawyer?

If you were involved in a forklift accident at work, seeking legal guidance from a skilled truck and forklift accident attorney is crucial. When choosing an advocate, it is equally important to consider their qualifications and experience, particularly in similar cases.

D’Amore Law Group emphasizes the importance of selecting a truck accident attorney certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. To become certified in Truck Accident Law, attorneys must dedicate a significant portion of their practice to trucking litigation, accumulate hands-on experience in multiple truck accident cases, and pass a comprehensive written examination. The certification is a testament to the lawyer’s commitment to excellence and readiness to handle complex litigation associated with truck and forklift accidents. 

By choosing a board-certified attorney, clients can rest assured that their lawyer’s qualifications have already been meticulously vetted and verified and their expertise rigorously examined. Board-certified Tom D’Amore of the D’Amore Law Group is a fine example of the high standards required for certification in his field.

D’Amore Law Group: Your Experienced Forklift Accident Advocates

Since 1994, D’Amore Law Group has been a staunch advocate for victims of personal injury and truck accidents, securing a multitude of accolades such as Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters, Best Lawyers, and the AV Preeminent rating by Martindale Hubbell. Renowned for our empathy, tenacity, and expertise, the D’Amore Law Group team has successfully resolved over 2,000 cases. With our expertise, knowledge, and commitment to justice, we can help you navigate the legal process and pursue the forklift accident compensation you deserve. Moreover, unlike other law firms, we do not charge upfront fees and only take a fee if you recover. 

Contact us anytime, day or night, for a no-cost case evaluation. And remember, when it comes to legal representation, choosing a board-certified attorney certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy ensures that your case is in capable hands. 

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