Atlanta Injury Lawyers Explain How Forklift Accidents Are More Common Than You Think


February 12, 2016

According to statistics from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration ("OSHA"), forklift-related accidents cause roughly 100 fatalities per year and 61,800 injuries with over 34,900 of those injuries being serious. There are about 856,000 operating forklifts in the U.S. so that means as many as 11% of the forklifts are involved in some type of accident. As such, our Atlanta Personal Injury Attorneys find that forklift accidents are not as uncommon as you would think.

In the eight years of a typical forklift's operational life, there is a significant possibility that a driver who operates it will sustain serious injuries in a forklift accident. A review of the most common types of forklift accidents provides the following breakdown:

  • 42% are caused by the vehicle tipping over and crushing the operator;
  • 25% involve the injury victim being crushed between the vehicle and another surface;
  • 11% involve a person being crushed between the forklift and another vehicle;
  • 8% result from a person being struck by falling material; and
  • A small percentage involve falls from a platform on the forks.

In light of the above, it is important that workers receive adequate training before being asked to operate of piece of machinery like a forklift. Many of the accidents mentioned above could be prevented if forklift operators receive proper training. OSHA requires drivers be properly trained before operating this type of equipment. Operating a forklift without training is extremely dangerous and can even be fatal to the operator and others working in the area.

OSHA requires that all forklift operators complete a training and evaluation program to operate a forklift before receiving a certification. This standard is known as 1910.178. The training is given by a qualified instructor using OSHA standards. The employer is then responsible for evaluating the operator before they begin operating a forklift and at least once every three years to make sure they are still proficient. Refresher training must be given if new equipment replaces the old or if they are operated in an unsafe manner. Some of the training takes place in the classroom while some takes place on the equipment.

When proper training is not provided to employees or when these requirements and safety measures are ignored by the employer (who is responsible for enforcing them), fatal accidents can occur. It is not uncommon for the forklift to tip over due to an unbalanced load. The driver can be thrown from the machinery or he can be pinned underneath it. Loads can fall from the forklift on top of the driver or others on the ground. Other workers on the ground also can be hit by forklifts.

Serious injuries that can be a result of a forklift accident include, but are not limited to:

  • Broken bones and internal injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Traumatic amputation
  • Spinal cord injuries

All employees have the right to work in a safe environment. As such, an employer is obligated to provide a work environment that is safe and protected from the occurrence of accidents. This can only be accomplished by strict adherence to safety standards and regulations. If you feel that you have been injured due to unsafe work conditions, improper training, or a lack of appropriate gear or tools, speak with our Georgia workers' compensation and personal injury lawyers today. You might not only be entitled to compensation from your employer but other liable third parties as well. From our offices in Atlanta, we represent construction accident victims throughout the State of Georgia and in the Southeast. We will investigate your forklift accident and identify any responsible parties.

Call Montlick & Associates Now to Learn More About Your Legal Rights and Options

Our Atlanta Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located, our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.