The chances of an employee suffering a workplace injury depend on a number of factors. For example, an employer who does not make sure his or her equipment operates safely increases the risk of an employee getting injured. If safety is not a top priority, accidents — including fatal accidents — can happen in the blink of an eye.

One piece of equipment that is commonly found in industrial and construction settings is a forklift. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has regulations in place regarding training, operating and safety. The OSHA training program requirements state that training must consist of both practical training and formal instruction. The operator’s performance must also be evaluated. After successfully completing the initial training, refresher training must be successfully completed every three years.

Forklifts are called powered industrial trucks by OHSA. The certification program involves formal training on the types of forklifts, the power sources and parts, pre-operation, traveling and maneuvering and load handling. During each phase of the training, safety is the overwhelming concern.

According to OSHA, there are about 85 fatal forklift accidents each year, with another 34,900 accidents resulting in serious injuries. Manufacturing has the highest percentage of fatal forklift accidents. The second highest percentage is construction.

The types of accidents included the forklift tipping over, someone being crushed between a forklift and another vehicle or surface and being stuck or run over by a forklift. Studies have shown that many of these accident might have been prevented if the operators had better training.

If you have been injured in a forklift accident, seek medical treatment. You will need to notify your employer as soon as you are able. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be difficult in some cases, but at Hannigan & Botha, Ltd., we can help. To learn more about our practice and construction accidents, please visit our webpages on the topics.