Heavy industry relies on motorized material handlers for countless projects over the course of the workday. From unloading trucks and organizing warehouse product to moving resources and lifting heavy objects, a forklift is a necessity across numerous environments. While there are safety protocols in place for both worker training and machine maintenance, serious workplace accidents often occur.
Due to their weight, power and forks, these machines can cause devastating injuries and worker deaths. Since the bulk of the weight and steering control all come from the rear of the vehicle, many workers find the control scheme challenging. For these reasons, forklift accident statistics are often eye opening, including:
- Forklift accidents account for an average of 85 workplace fatalities each year.
- Forklift accidents result in 34,900 serious injuries per year.
- Nearly a quarter of all forklift accidents (24%) involve vehicle overturns.
- Based on the statistical averages, across the United States 95 workers are injured each day, and one person will be killed every four days due to a forklift accident.
- Based on the statistical averages, approximately 1 in every 10 forklifts (11%) across the United States will be involved in an accident this year.
These powerful machines can prove to be operationally challenging for numerous reasons, including:
- Deceptive weight: A forklift can weigh up to 9,000 pounds
- Weight distribution: To balance the heavy-lifting capabilities, forklifts are intentionally heavier in the rear
- Control: Forklifts make turns from the rear axel and only have stopping power in the front
- Sight lines: Forklifts carry their large loads in the front which often obscures the view of the operator
Workers in nearly any occupation can suffer serious injuries while on the job. These can range from broken bones and crush injuries to spinal cord damage and head trauma. Under severe circumstances, a workplace injury might prove fatal. No matter your occupation or work environment, it is crucial that you take steps to reduce injuries and report any accident as soon as possible.