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Preventing Collisions Involving Forklift Trucks

Forklift accidents are a common and devastating cause of injury in factories, manufacturing, retail, and other workplace environments in Homestead and across the country. Forklifts are used in construction and in a variety of industries to lift heavy objects and cargo.

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Unfortunately because forklifts are top-heavy and are heavy machinery, they are involved in a number of workplace accidents in Homestead, Hollywood, and across the southern Florida area. Crushing injuries and rollovers are especially common with these types of vehicles. Amputations, head injuries, spinal cord trauma, fractures, and other serious injuries result from forklift collisions and incidents each year.

Forklift accidents are caused by many factors, but the most common reasons include:

  1. Speeding. Just as with any vehicle, speeding with the forklift can easily lead to a collision. It is important that operators never exceed safe speed limits, especially when driving through an area with pedestrians or when transporting heavy cargo.
  2. Incorrect training. Operators need to be trained on proper safety procedures. In addition, any workers working near or around forklifts need to be trained to safely stay out of the way of forklifts during operation. Workers walking in front of forklifts or in blind spots of operators also have a risk of injury.
  3. Poor maintenance. Forklifts need to be properly maintained and checked regularly. Just as with any vehicle, they can fail if they are not inspected and kept in peak condition.
  4. Aging forklifts. Older forklifts may not have the modern safety standards of current models. In addition, forklifts may experience more mechanical issues over time, especially if they are not maintained correctly.
  5. Incorrect use. Even correctly trained operators will sometimes make errors or will not use proper safety procedures when using the forklift. Incorrect use – whether caused by lack of training or simply negligence – is a leading cause of forklift accidents.
  6. Mechanical failure. Sometimes, poor design or manufacturing problems will create forklifts or forklift parts that are not safe.
  7. Elevated cargo. Forklifts must not be driven when the cargo is elevated.
  8. Lack of communication and warning. In shared spaces, it’s important for forklift operators and for other workers to communicate when the forklift is in operation. This ensures a forklift operator doesn’t drive into pedestrians or that workers don’t walk in front of or behind a forklift while the vehicle is in use. It is also important to that forklift operators use warning signals and lights to ensure others nearby know there is a forklift in operation.
  9. Workplace design. High-traffic areas, narrow or crowded aisles, obstructions along routes, and lots of other users in the same area as a forklift can all create dangerous conditions and the potential for injury. When other obstacles and other workers are around forklifts, it is harder for the forklift operator to easily navigate around these obstacles. Narrow and crowded aisles can also make it harder to maneuver the vehicle. It’s important to give forklift operators adequate space and good conditions to work safely.

If you have been injured in a forklift accident at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation in Homestead or your community. To find out more, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. Our workers’ compensation attorneys will be pleased to help you understand whether you have a claim and what steps you can take to strengthen your claim.