March 03, 2022
Many workers don’t realize how dangerous forklifts can be. Forklift accidents often cause severe injuries or death. The forklift driver is not the only one at risk. Workers standing or walking nearby can also be seriously hurt or killed.
If you are wondering why are forklifts so dangerous, there are several reasons:
- Forklifts weigh, on average, about 9,000 pounds. That’s three times heavier than the average car. If you are hit by a forklift, its massive weight can cause severe damage. Being crushed by this heavy piece of machinery can be fatal.
- Forklifts are unstable, in part because their weight is not evenly distributed. Forklifts can tip, flip, fall, or roll over. The risk is especially high when the forklift is making tight turns, when the ground is slick, wet, or uneven, or when the load is unbalanced or the forklift is overloaded. This instability presents a serious danger to the driver and also people nearby on the ground.
- The load that a forklift is carrying may fall off and strike someone on the ground. Loads may fall off at any time, especially when they are being picked up or put down, when they are being carried in a raised position, or when the forklift is turning. These loads are usually heavy and can cause severe injury or death.
- Forklifts need more distance to stop than many people realize. A forklift will travel about 17 feet before stopping if it is moving at 4 mph. If it is moving at 9 mph, it will travel at least 51 feet before coming to a full stop. This long stopping distance means that a forklift driver may not be able to stop in time to prevent an accident. The result is an increased risk that a forklift will hit a person, a wall, or another object, or that it will fall off a loading dock.
- Forklift drivers may not be able to see where they are going because the load they are carrying can block their view. They may collide with people or objects that are in their blind spots.
What Are the Dangers of Forklifts?
The dangers of forklifts are that drivers or people nearby can be struck or crushed by the forklift or the load it is carrying. Because a forklift is heavier than a car and also more unstable, a forklift accident often causes severe or fatal injuries.
Forklifts can turn over. They may fall off of loading docks. The load that a forklift is carrying can slide off and hit someone on the ground. Forklift drivers who spot a person or obstacle ahead may not be able to stop in time.
Because forklifts are so dangerous, employers are responsible for following OSHA standards for forklift safety. Employers have an obligation to make sure that forklifts are properly maintained. They must train workers and provide all necessary safety equipment. If employers are careless or do not follow OSHA and other forklift safety regulations, workers who are injured in forklift accidents may be able to sue their employers and seek compensation for their injuries.
Forklift manufacturers also have a responsibility to ensure their products are properly designed and made. Injured workers may be able to sue manufacturers if the forklifts that caused their injuries were defective. An experienced heavy equipment accident lawyer can let you know if you have a good claim against your employer, a manufacturer, or another person or company who was at fault for the forklift accident.
What Are the Four Main Causes of Injuries When Using Forklifts?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) gathers statistics on forklift accidents that cause fatal injuries. Its report shows the four main causes of fatal injuries when using forklifts:
- Forklifts that turn over are the cause of 22% of fatal forklift accidents.
- Forklifts that strike a worker who is standing nearby are the cause of 20% of fatal forklift accidents.
- Forklifts that crush a worker are the cause of 16% of fatal forklift accidents.
- Drivers falling off of forklifts account for 9% of fatal forklift accidents.
These four main causes of injuries when using forklifts are even more likely to cause severe injuries than they are to cause death. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a forklift accident, you are having to deal with many problems at once.
You have to take care of your injuries, which may require many medical appointments and procedures. These medical treatments take time, may be painful, and may cause bills to pile up. You may not be able to work as much as you used to, or you may not be able to work at all. The combination of higher bills and lower income can be extremely stressful.
You may not be able to provide your family with your usual affection, guidance, help, and support. Your injuries may prevent you from enjoying your favorite activities.
You may be entitled to substantial financial compensation for the problems your injury is causing now and also for expenses and losses that are expected to continue in the future. An experienced Houston work injury lawyer can evaluate your case and let you know what your options are.
What is the No. 1 Cause of Forklift Accidents?
According to OSHA, forklifts turning over are the number one cause of forklift accidents. When a forklift turns over, the driver may be crushed underneath. Workers standing nearby may also be crushed.
If you or a loved one was seriously hurt in a forklift accident, or if a loved one was killed, the Waldman Legal Group can help. We invite you to talk to one of our experienced Houston catastrophic accident injury lawyers. We will evaluate your case for free. You may be eligible for compensation for all your current and future medical expenses related to your injury, current and future lost income, physical pain, disfigurement, emotional distress, and your family’s loss of your companionship and support.
We are dedicated to fighting for the rights of workers and want to see you get all the compensation that Texas law provides. If you were seriously injured, and if someone else was at fault, you don’t have to deal with this by yourself. We are here to help.
If you become our client, your personal injury lawyer will investigate the accident, gather evidence to build a strong case, negotiate on your behalf, and, if necessary, take the fight to the courtroom. Call us now at (713) 688-4878 for a free and confidential consultation.