As industrial trucks are used more and more often, there’s an increase in worker death and injury. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 100 workers are killed and more than 20,000 suffer from a forklift injury in the United States. If you’ve been the victim of such an injury accident caused by someone else’s negligence at work, worker’s compensation may be available for you.
Unsafe Behavior with Forklifts
Although the forklift is an essential tool, it can also cause harm if it’s not used properly. So it’s essential to understand unsafe behaviors in order to avoid any dangerous situations.
Allowing an untrained or unauthorized worker to operate a forklift is the most common error, and this mistake can lead to serious injuries. Properly trained and certified forklift operators are the only workers who should get behind the wheel under any circumstances. Additionally, a forklift isn’t designed to carry passengers. So for the protection of all workers, the driver must be the sole person on this machine.
Along with proper training, a forklift must also be in good repair. Operating a machine that doesn’t function as it should can lead to a serious forklift injury or even death.
In addition, the machine must be turned off with its forks lowered when it’s not in use. This may seem like a common sense requirement, but all too often a forklift is left running, which is a major hazard.
Safety Precautions Before Operating a Forklift
Even if you’re authorized and certified to drive a forklift, there are still certain steps you should take every time you get ready to operate this machine. Avoid a forklift injury by following these guidelines:
- Always check the horn, lights, fire extinguisher, and brakes to make sure they’re all working properly;
- Look over the forklift’s load and check to make sure there aren’t any broken or damaged pallets;
- Work with low loads so that your vision isn’t blocked;
- Don’t overload the forklift and be aware of capacity guidelines;
- Always wear the provided seatbelt and have a helmet and safety goggles on for added protection; and
- Have a spotter available to enable you to have a clear view from all directions.
If you’ve been hurt because of a forklift-related incident on the job in Virginia, you may be able to file a worker’s compensation claim to help with your medical bills and lost wages. It’s important to understand your rights and a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases can guide you on how to pursue such a claim.
Contact a Virginia Worker’s Compensation Attorney Today
The Richmond-based worker’s compensation attorney team at Injured Workers’ Law Firm represents everyday workers—people like you—throughout the state of Virginia who have experienced serious injuries, and we are prepared to answer each and every one of your questions thoughtfully.
Before you talk to an insurance adjuster or even before you decide to hire an attorney, we urge you to order this FREE work injury guide. Then, once you feel ready to move forward as a claimant, give us a call at 1-804-755-7755 or toll-free at 1-877-755-7744. You can also contact us online today to schedule an appointment.