Employers owe a duty of care to train their employees to operate heavy vehicles and powered industrial trucks. As noted by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide a refresher course on forklifts once every three years. Failing to comply may result in an OSHA fine or, in a worst-case scenario, an otherwise preventable workplace accident.
As noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 9,050 serious injuries resulted from forklift incidents during 2017. Accidents occurring in non-roadway areas such as in a closed warehouse accounted for 2,050 cases. To recover from an injury related to a forklift, the affected employees required an average of 13 days off from work.
Forklift injury causes and accidents involving other employees
The National Safety Council’s Injury Facts reports that the greatest number of forklift accidents resulted from a dangerous event such as a fire or an explosion. Falling objects or getting a truck lift caught in equipment represented the second and third most frequent accident causes.
Accidents involving walking or standing employees made up at least 1,850 reported forklift injuries during 2017. Those employees required an average of 20 days off from work to recover from pain, bruises or cuts.
Compensation for medical expenses and recovery when workplace accidents occur
Companies that monitor their workers to determine proper equipment handling can help reduce the risk of on-the-job injuries. Workplace accidents, however, may still occur in spite of the best efforts made by employers and their employees.
An individual injured on the job can apply for and receive workers’ compensation benefits. Regardless of how cautiously or recklessly someone operated a forklift, an injured employee has a right to medical treatment and the financial assistance needed to recover.