Anyone who has spent time on a construction site or in a warehouse knows how powerful forklifts are. They need to have a significant amount of power to get the job done. Oftentimes these machines are used to lift hundreds—or even thousands—of pounds of supplies and equipment. Along with this power, unfortunately, comes a high risk for serious accidents and fatalities in the Virginia workplace.

According to OSHA, forklifts cause an estimated 85 fatalities each year. In addition, there are approximately 35,000 accidents that cause serious injuries and roughly 62,000 accidents that result in injuries that are not serious or life-threatening.

The Industrial Truck Association estimates that there are approximately 856,000 forklifts in use on job sites around the country. The association’s projections indicate that 11 percent of these machines are involved in an accident of some type annually, based on the rate of one accident per forklift.

Studies show that many forklift accidents can be prevented through better training for operators. Operating a forklift is not the same as driving a passenger vehicle. It requires specialized training to develop the skills necessary to safely operate a forklift. Not having the proper training can easily result in a fatal accident or one that causes serious injury to the operator or other employees in the vicinity.

Almost half of all fatalities stemming from forklift accidents—42 percent—occur when the operator jumps from the forklift during a tip over and is crushed by the machine. With the right training, operators can learn how to safely maneuver the machine with an elevated load and prevent it from tipping over. They will also learn what to do—and what not to do—if the machine does tip over.

Construction injuries are commonly quite serious. Sometimes even though you take all the necessary safety precautions, accidents still happen. If you are unsure about how to handle your workplace injury, contact Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas today for a free consultation. We’re here to help guide you.

Carl N. Lauer
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Representing injured persons in Virginia. Workers' Compensation Claims.

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