Each year thousands of workers are injured in workplace incidents around the Commonwealth. Last year alone, over 50,000 workers were injured and more than 30 were killed on Massachusetts job sites. A study published by The Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health found that construction is the most dangerous work industry and far surpasses any other industry in the amount of workplace injuries and fatalities.
Forklift accidents are one type of incident that most often occurs on construction sites, manufacturing and storage warehouses, and accounts for a great number of workplace injuries.
Accidents with forklifts can be caused by numerous factors such as unsafe workplace conditions, inexperience, or unsafe practices while operating the machinery. Accidents caused by those types of factors are almost 100% preventable if the proper safety precautions are taken.
Some of the most common physical conditions that contribute to forklift accidents include slippery or uneven surfaces, floor and load limits, and obstructions. Slippery and uneven surfaces pose hazards such as skidding and tip over, especially when a forklift is traveling over oil, grease, water, mud, gravel, and other uneven ground conditions. It is most advised to avoid these types of surfaces whenever possible and spread material, such as sand or other absorbent material, over slick areas you cannot avoid to prevent skidding. Workers should always report unsafe conditions, and warning signs should be implemented to warn others of danger, until the area can be properly cleaned.
Operators should always be aware of flooring and load limits before proceeding to move loads to prevent a floor from collapsing beneath them. Regularly inspecting the condition of the floor for defect as well as observing floor loading limits are practices that can prevent an accident.
Obstructions such as inanimate objects and overhead clearances should be observed to prevent collision and possible tip over of the forklift. Common practices by operators including keeping aisles clear, maintaining steering control by keeping contact with ground, crossing speed bumps at a 45-degree angle, and walking the route prior to traveling it with the forklift.
Job site incidents occur for a multitude of reasons, and are virtually unavoidable, unless proper precautions are taken to ensure safe working conditions. Employee safety is the most important part of any job, and it is ultimately the employer’s responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for every employee.
If you have been hurt on a job site because of unsafe working conditions, call one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at the law offices of Altman & Altman, for a free initial consultation to discuss your rights. For nearly 50 years, we have been helping individuals and families of injured workers receive fair compensation for their injuries. We are available around the clock to answer any questions you have and stand ready to help you through every aspect of your case.