In warehouses and industrial settings, forklifts are a common sight. In fact, they have probably become so common that people have forgotten just how dangerous they can be. This is a serious problem because forklifts are involved in a distressingly high number of accidents on a yearly basis. Each forklift accident can lead to significant injuries that need extensive time off and accumulate high medical bills. Those injuries can even be fatal.
The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian work to represent the victims of forklift accidents in court to ensure they get the compensation they deserve.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), there are 855,900 forklifts in use in the United States every year. Altogether, these forklifts were involved in 96,785 accidents in 2014, alone. This means that 11% of forklifts in the U.S. – more than one in every ten – were involved in a forklift accident that year.
The high number of these accidents does not mean that those that happened were minor, either. OSHA reports that 34,900 – more than one in three – resulted in a serious injury, and that 85 more proved to be fatal injuries.
Most of these accidents happened in manufacturing jobs – 42.5%, according to OSHA's numbers. Forklift accidents happened on construction sites 23.8% of the time, while wholesale and retail trades and transportation accounted for nearly all of the remainder.
Causes of Forklift Accidents
According to OSHA's report, most forklift accidents are preventable. By simply providing more and better training and a policy that favors safety first, OSHA estimates that 70% of forklift accidents can be avoided.
Lots of forklift accidents are caused when forklift operators and other workers try to get to work too quickly or race to get a job done. If the forklift operator gets behind the wheel without conducting basic safety checks, it can result in a serious accident that can hurt not only the operator, but also those in the immediate vicinity.
Also, forklifts are machines that require constant maintenance and attention, just like any other vehicle, like a car. If issues like tire pressure or the horn are not monitored and fixed promptly, they can lead to significant hazards: If one tire is flat, it can make the forklift tip dangerously under heavy loads, tipping its cargo onto unsuspecting bystanders, while a broken horn can prevent forklift operators from letting others know if the forklift is backing up or about to turn around a hidden corner.
Supervisors and employers can also cause a forklift accident by entrusting the operator duties to someone who is irresponsible or who they do not adequately train. These forms of negligence can make a supervisor or company legally liable for the injuries that result from such a forklift accident.
Forklift Accident Injuries
Forklift accidents can result in serious injuries that require extensive medical attention, lots of time off from work to heal, and can lead to long-term or permanent disability.
Common injuries from a forklift accident include broken bones as well as head, neck, and back injuries, including concussions and spinal injuries. Each one of these injuries can require lots of immediate medical attention, and can become extremely expensive over the long run.
Worse, forklift accidents can be fatal, too. According to OSHA's report, many of these fatal forklift accidents happen when the vehicle tips over and crushes either a bystander or the operator underneath it. The average forklift weighs about 9,000 pounds, making these types of accidents extremely dangerous, and often fatal. Another third of fatal forklift accidents involve the victim being crushed between the forklift and another surface, like a wall, or another vehicle. One in ten fatal forklift accidents happen when the forklift runs over or hits someone. Finally, the payload that a forklift carries can be dangerous, as well – 12% of fatal accidents involve a forklift's cargo falling on someone or someone falling from the vehicle's forks to the ground, below.
Philadelphia Forklift Accident Attorneys
In all, forklifts are deceptively dangerous machines that have led to a shockingly high number of injuries. That is why the personal injury attorneys at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian work to represent victims of forklift accidents both in and out of court to ensure they get the compensation that they deserve for their injuries.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a forklift accident in or near the city of Philadelphia, contact the law office of Gilman & Bedigian online or at (800) 529-6162.