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OSHA statistics show that every year close to 35,000 people are seriously injured by forklifts. Another 62,000 are injured in a non-serious way. This occurs every year in America. 96 people were killed last year. Studies have also shown that poor and improper training is the primary reason for workers being harmed by forklifts.
If you have been injured by a forklift and you are forced to file a lawsuit, then you have the burden to show what safety standard or code was violated by the defendant, who owned or operated the forklift.
OSHA’s Powered Industrial Trucks Standard – 29 CFR 1910.178 – is a good starting point for proving liability and it states: “The employer shall ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation” outlined in the standard.
There are definitive, affirmative steps an owner or employer can take in order to make sure that a forklift accident does not happen on their property. Before starting the job for the day, the operator of the forklift should check the forklift, checking seat belts, brakes, and all parts of the forklift. Many worksites or construction site accidents happen simply because the forklift has been left in bad working condition and left to fall in disrepair.
The operator of the forklift must be well trained and understand very specific rules regarding the forklift. The operator needs to be aware of their surroundings, wear a seatbelt, and lift items very carefully with the forklift.
The operator should also keep a clear view and use rearview mirrors to make sure their visibility is always clear. Many forklift injuries occur because there is not the proper stability present. It is important that operators understand lift trucks are constructed on a three-point suspension system, resembling a triangle from a physics standpoint, which creates a stability triangle. This kind of stability ensures a safe space for the forklift to be properly operated.
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