Preventing Forklift Accidents – Raising Awareness of Forklift Injuries, the Need for Adequate Training


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National Forklift Safety Day (June 9, 2015)

Yesterday was National Forklift Safety Day, sponsored by the Industrial Truck Association (ITA). At its second annual conference held in Washington D.C., the ITA focused on the number one cause of forklift accidents at work—inadequate training of forklift drivers, including temporary or contract workers.

Dangers of Forklifts

forklift and palletForklifts are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment and are responsible for literally dozens of accidents and injuries each year. Forklifts are used across multiple industries, and this is one of the factors which accounts for the high number of forklift-related work injuries in the U.S., including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

More: Common Causes of Forklift Accidents in PA & NJ

Forklifts often result in injuries to bystanders and forklift operators or drivers. Forklift overturn accidents and strike accidents are the most common types of forklift accidents. A forklift overturn accident often occurs due to improper maneuvering or overloading. A forklift strike accident occurs when another worker (bystander) is hit or struck by a forklift. Bystanders who are struck by forklifts often suffer major crush injuries, such as crushed limbs. Forklift drivers often become injured when a forklift overturns. Fatalities are very common.

Forklift Operator Training

According to the National Safety Council, forklift driver error accounts for 70% of all forklift accidents. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues and enforces workplace safety regulations. About half of the states in the U.S. have adopted their own workplace safety standards and enforcement policies. Under OSHA regulations, employers are required to provide training to all forklift operators.

Employers in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey must comply with the federal OSHA standards. However, some specific employers may be subject to state workplace safety laws. For instance, in New Jersey, public employers (government entities) are required to adhere to New Jersey’s Public Employee Occupational Safety and Health State Plan.

In addition to initial training, refresher training may be required. For instance, refresher training is required after a near miss accident, i.e., where a forklift driver nearly gets into an accident. Get more info about OSHA’s forklift training requirements.

More from our forklift accident law library:

  • Statute of Limitations in Forklift Work Accident Cases (September 4, 2014) Forklift accidents are one of the leading causes of work related disability and time lost from work. This is due to the often catastrophic injuries which result from forklift accidents. While fatalities are quite common, so too are crushed limbs which lead to amputations or permanent loss of use.
  • Dock and Terminal Forklift Accidents (April 3, 2014) Forklifts are used widely across industries, including construction sites, factories, manufacturing sites, and in ports. This is why forklift accidents top the list of major work-related accidents in the U.S.
  • Forklift Accidents at Work in Pennsylvania – Workplace Issues Leading to Forklift Accidents (November 8, 2012) Work accidents happen every day. Especially in commercial or industrial settings where heavy equipment and power industrial trucks like forklifts are used, workers can suffer serious, career ending injuries.

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