Lift trucks, sometimes called forklifts or powered industrial trucks, are commonly used in warehouses and businesses to transport goods to and from loading docks. Their ubiquitous nature does nothing to lessen their dangers.
Lift truck accidents kill about 100 people and injure about 20,000 people each year. What is the most common type of lift truck accident?
Crushed by a Lift Truck
The most common type of lift truck accident is one of the most fatal: being crushed by a lift truck. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that most fatal lift truck accidents happen when a worker is crushed by a forklift overturns or falls from a loading dock.
These types of truck lift accidents represent about 25% of all lift truck-related deaths. About 614 workers were killed in lift truck accidents between 2011 and 2017.
This most common type of lift truck accident is often caused by misloaded cargo and precarious operating conditions, such as having to navigate narrow ramps or loading docks. Lift trucks are also in danger of falling between docks and unsecured trailers or when balancing on elevated pallets.
Overturned and falling lift trucks don’t just endanger the lift truck operator; nearby workers are at risk of injury and death as well. Operators may try to jump out of tipping lift trucks to avoid injury, but such behavior may actually increase their chance of getting hurt.
Most Lift Truck Accidents Are Preventable
Authorities say that a majority of lift truck accidents are preventable if operators take proper precautions.
A federal investigation found that many lift truck operators and their employers don’t follow lift truck standards as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or equipment manufacturers.
The most common type of lift truck accident may be prevented by some of OSHA’s guidelines, which include instructions to only lift cargo to a height that clears the ground. Other guidelines include only allowing licensed and trained drivers to operate lift trucks and making sure the lift truck path is clear at all times.
Unfortunately, after crushing lift truck accidents, the next most fatal types of lift truck accidents are pedestrian workers being hit by lift trucks, workers being caught in or compressed by a lift truck or nearby object, and crashes involving lift trucks.
The question of what is the most common type of lift truck accident is important, but it doesn’t provide a full picture of the many dangers of lift trucks.
What happens if I’ve been injured in a lift truck accident?
Workplace Lift Truck Injuries
If you’ve suffered serious injuries in a lift truck accident at work, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation.
Attend to severe injuries before anything else and alert your employer to the accident once you are safely able to do so. If your injuries don’t require immediate treatment, notify your employer about the accident right away; they may require you to fill out an incident form or be treated by certain medical providers.
If you witnessed dangerous lift truck practices that could lead to severe injury or death, report the issue to your manager, if possible. If appropriate practices aren’t adopted and protections aren’t put in place, file a complaint with OSHA and contact a Florida lift truck accident lawyer.
Imminent workplace danger means you may have the right to refuse to work under such conditions. A Florida lift truck accident lawyer will know what options are available to you and can help guide you through the complaint process.
Non-Workplace Lift Truck Injuries
While the most common type of lift truck accident mostly happens to those working near or in a lift truck, that’s not always the case.
In 2019, an unlicensed forklift driver in Florida crashed into a car, killing a 70-year-old man. The man’s family later sued for $25 million from the involved parties, which included the driver, subcontractors, and contractor.
Depending on the details, your case could involve premises liability or similar law that requires employer due diligence when operating a business. You must work with a Florida lift truck accident lawyer who can fight for you, regardless of where the accident happened.
Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free lift truck accident case evaluation.