The Causes of Forklift Truck Accidents in Virginia
When forklift truck accidents in Virginia or elsewhere make headlines they are often serious or deadly. Last year in Erwin, North Carolina, a 35-year-old man was killed when a forklift fell on top of him.
The Erwin Police Department said the forklift truck and an operator were on the back of a flatbed truck. The forklift appears to have fallen off the side of the truck. Police said the man operating the forklift truck fell and the forklift crashed off the flatbed truck and overturned on him.
Another fatal forklift truck accident was reported this year in Wright Township, Pennsylvania. The forklift hit a power line at an industrial park and electrocuted the 43-year-old operator.
These tragic accidents highlight the inherent dangers of forklift trucks. Although forklift trucks are slow-moving vehicles they are heavy and contain dangerous moving parts. Forklift trucks often operate in confined spaces and dangerous locations where heavy and hazardous materials are stored.
What is a Forklift Truck?
Forklift trucks are also known as lift trucks and fork trucks. They are powered industrial trucks used to lift, move and transport materials. Forklifts can weight up to 10,000 pounds, three times as much as a car.
Forklift trucks are an invaluable part of the operation of many warehouses and industrial facilities. They reduce the load placed on workers by assisting in the transportation of materials in the workplace. Forklift trucks reduce the number of musculoskeletal injuries caused by repetitive carrying lifting activities.
However, the large number of forklift truck accidents in Virginia and other states indicate many forklifts are being improperly operated. Often workers receive inadequate training and supervision and are in danger. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 680,400 forklift accidents occur every year resulting in injuries to 9,000 employees. About 80 people die in forklift truck accidents every year.
What Are the Common Causes of Forklift Truck Accidents in Virginia?
Operators and other workers can be hurt in a variety of forklift truck accidents including:
- Injuries from falling loads;
- Crush injuries from forklift trucks;
- Forklift trucks toppling over;
- Workers injured by powered forklifts;
- Collisions between forklift trucks.
What Factors Lead to Forklift Truck Accidents?
Forklift truck accidents seldom occur in isolation. Often poor workplace procedures or a lax safety regime can result in injuries and deaths. Poor training is a major cause of Virginia forklift truck accidents. Bosses make the mistake of assuming they are easy to drive and operate. As well as being able to claim workers’ compensation, injured workers may file a personal injury suit against employers, warehouse managers or manufacturers of defective trucks. However, negligence must be shown to have occurred in a personal injury case.
Common causes of forklift truck accidents include:
- Inadequate or improper training of workers who operate forklift trucks;
- Inadequate tools for the job;
- Poor working factors like long hours, bad lighting, and stress.
- Improper assignment of forklifts and operators;
- Badly maintained forklift trucks;
- Aging forklifts.
- Defective forklift trucks.
What Behaviors Cause Forklift Truck Accidents in Virginia?
- Improper reversing;
- Traveling too fast:
- Improper warnings to nearby workers;
- Improper parking;
- Inadequate serving and poor maintenance of forklift trucks
- Giving rides to others on forklifts.
A report in Occupational Health and Safety noted the owner of a machinery training school was killed as he filmed a forklift safety video. He was thrown out of the forklift and crushed. The investigation revealed the cause of the death was the driver going too fast over a rough terrain.
According to OSHA, about 42 percent of the forklift fatalities result from the operator being crushed by a tipping vehicle.
The article highlighted the need for forklift truck drivers to wear seatbelts. Employers must require operators of powered industrial trucks to be given seat belts or other operator restraint devices.
The report noted forklift truck operators must receive adequate training that includes instructions on operating specialized components. It should cover the operation of a forklift truck under various conditions like going up a slope, operating in a busy environment and in hazardous locations.
Hire a Virginia Forklift Truck Accident Attorney
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we help people injured in industrial accidents in Hampton Roads and elsewhere in Virginia. If you have been hurt in a forklift truck accident in Portsmouth, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News or elsewhere, please contact our personal injury team today at (757) 455-0077.