How Many Lift Truck Accidents Are Reported Each Year?

How Many Lift Truck Accidents Are Reported Each Year? 

Powered industrial trucks (forklifts) are important pieces of equipment in many warehouses, factories, and other businesses. While they can help a business move materials faster, these vehicles can also be dangerous to workers. Fortunately, accidents and injuries related to forklifts can be prevented with proper safety precautions and training. 

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that there were 614 worker fatalities from workplace lift truck accidents between 2011 and 2017, for an average of 88 deaths per year. Moreover, there were more than 7,000 serious injuries that resulted in days away from work each year. 

Forklift Accidents Caused by Insufficient or No Training 

While insufficient or no training is a major factor in the majority of lift truck accidents, there are several other factors that could lead to an accident. Defective equipment, lack of hazard warnings, and improper use of a forklift are all potential causes. 

Speeding: Forklift operators often travel too fast for the conditions, which leads to a shortening of reaction time. Driving too fast can be especially dangerous if the operator is traveling with an elevated load. The same holds true when the operator turns a forklift quickly and tries to make a sharp turn. 

Insufficient Sightlines: It is critical to keep the cab and back end of a lift truck as clear as possible. This will prevent workers from getting struck by the lift truck or being run over by it. It can also help ensure the operator is not distracted or inattentive. 

A red-light zone and blue spotlight around a lift truck can also help warn pedestrians of the presence of a heavy machine. Similarly, an audible forklift backup alarm can alert pedestrians to a nearby lift truck. 

Blind zones, hearing protection, back-end swing radius and other safety measures can also help prevent accidents. In addition to preventing collisions with people, these features can prevent workers from being injured by the back of the forklift or by the tip or forks that may be flying off of the machine. 

Crushing Hazards: Pedestrians are the primary victims of powered industrial forklift-related accidents, with 42% of those deaths resulting from being crushed by the vehicle. These incidents occur when the truck driver is distracted, fails to look before putting the truck into motion, or when brakes fail and the pedestrian is pinned between the truck and a fixed object. 

Pedestrians should be placed on designated walkways where forklifts are not allowed. Pedestrians should also wear appropriate protective gear, including face shields and eye protection. 

Emissions Poisoning: Forklifts are sometimes contaminated with carbon monoxide, which can lead to respiratory or neurological issues. This can be caused by leaking exhaust, improper fuel mixtures, working in a confined space or without ventilation, and more. 

The operator of a powered industrial forklift should always check the fuel level, exhaust, and horn before reversing. Forklifts should be inspected before and after each shift to ensure they are functioning properly. 

How Many Lift Truck Accidents Are Reported Each Year? | Montag Law