The Interstate 81 Corridor from Hagerstown Maryland, to Greencastle, to Chambersburg, to Shippensburg, and to Carlisle continues to see growth and expansion in the distribution/warehouse sector. Shippensburg has seen growth on both Exits 24 and 29. With that expansion comes more distribution jobs and the need for forklift and pallet jack operators.
One of the biggest causes of fork lift work-related injuries is lack of adequate training. Typically now, in the post-COVID economy, employers are begging for employees, including increasing hourly compensation. Work needs done. Let’s just hope this does not lead to skipping over in depth training or taking training shortcuts. That will most certainly lead to more work-related injuries that can turn tragic and devastating to injured workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates fork-lifts account for 61,800 minor injuries, 34,900 serious injuries, and 85 deaths every year. OSHA provided the Top 7 causes of fork lift accidents. I have cut down for summary purposes:
1. Poorly Trained Driver: A poorly trained driver might not know how to respond to a changing workplace. New inventory, obstacles and employees, or changes in floor gradient, can all cause problems for an inexperienced operator.
2. Speeding: All too often, drivers become comfortable and drive irresponsibly. In some cases, workers are under pressure to finish the job quickly or meet a time line.
3. Operating a Forklift with an Elevated Load
4. Improper Turning Forklifts are designed to balance heavy loads. Turning a corner too fast can cause the lift to tilt to one side.
5. Insufficient Warnings and Markings: In workplaces with both foot-and forklift traffic, it’s an absolute necessity to mark forklift zones.
6. Giving Rides or Riding on the Forklift Load: This is a common case of irresponsible operation.
7. Workplace Design: Involves a warehouse with minimal aisle space, invest in a narrow-aisle lift.
As you can see by the list, lack of training is #1 on the list. However, you can even add in #2, #3, and #4 into lack of training.
To avoid fork lift accidents, new employees should insist upon proper training and feeling comfortable on equipment prior to operation as part of a job function. To avoid pedestrian related accidents, operators should frequently use the horn when approaching doors or aisles. Operators should also exercise heightened caution when in narrow aisles or spaces. Operators should always check the load to ensure it is properly weighted and secured.
Finally, it is imperative that others not driving the forklifts should maintain a safe distance from operating forklifts, never ‘hitch’ a ride on a forklift, and not block forklift paths with any materials or debris that could cause an accident.
Unfortunately, accidents will still happen. Whether it be by lack of training, user error, or product deficiency, accidents will occur. The important thing you need to know is — if you have been injured in a for lift accident at work, protect yourself. Call Mooney Law for an absolutely free consultation. Workers’ Comp can be a quite a complex process. Employers tend to make it that way for injured workers. No need to struggle on your own. Mooney Law has recovered tens of millions of dollars in benefits and litigated hundreds of work injury cases throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. We work on a contingency fee basis. What does that mean? Means we do not get paid UNLESS you get paid. It’s that simple. Call today at 833-MOONEYLAW or 717-200-HELP to schedule your free consultation.