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How can you help ensure your safety around a forklift?

If a forklift operator hasn't operated a particular forklift before or operates one carelessly, there is a substantial risk of injury or death. There is also a risk if the forklift has missing parts or is malfunctioning.

Each year, 20,000 people are seriously injured and almost 100 workers are killed in forklift accidents. The National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities Surveillance System, there were 1530 people killed in accidents involving forklifts between 1980 and 2001. Twenty percent of those deaths involved workers who were struck by the forklift. Twenty-two percent were killed when the forklift overturned. Today, there are more than 1 million forklifts in use.

Here are some steps that can be taken so that workers have less of a risk of being injured or killed while operating a forklift.

-- Forklift operators must be trained. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that a forklift operator is trained. That training must be documented and the operator's performance has to be evaluated.

-- Operators must realize that driving a forklift isn't the same as driving a car.

-- Forklift seat belts can prevent an operator from being thrown from the forklift if it overturns.

-- Loads should be safely arranged and stable on the forks.

-- The forks should be tilted back when moving.

-- Drive slowly when on slippery surfaces and slow down to make a turn.

When a worker is injured in a forklift accident, the most important thing is to get him or her medical care. The victim will need to file a workers' compensation claim later on to make a claim for medical expenses, lost wages, disability and more.

Source: illinois.gov, "Forklift Safety Guide," accessed March 04, 2016

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Hannigan & Botha, Ltd.
505 E Hawley St.
Ste. 240
Mundelein, IL 60060-2473

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