Forklifts can provide efficiency and convenience for workers. They allow them to quickly move packages or place them at heights with just the push of a button or pull of a lever. While they can make workers’ lives easier, forklifts can also cause substantial harm if mishandled.
Common hazards caused by forklifts
Everyone is responsible for forklift safety. That includes employers, operators and co-employees. Even the most seasoned forklift drivers can run into trouble if others aren’t careful. Here are a few safety issues that can come with forklift usage:
- Disproportional weight stability: When an object is heavier than the machine carrying it, this can result in imbalance. Lack of balance is especially dangerous if the forklift rides on wet or slippery surfaces. In these cases, workers should remain a safe distance from the forklift during loading and unloading operations.
- Blind spots caused by load: Loads can be weighty and wide. Depending on the forklift’s size, this could limit the operator’s vision, making it dangerous for others nearby. That’s why operators should take inventory of who is in their path before they transfer the load.
- Forklift’s weight and speed: Most forklifts are heavier than cars. Even at their slowest speeds, forklifts can hurt pedestrians just as much as a car driving 15 mph. Because of this, workers who aren’t driving the forklift should remain on designated walkways when they can.
- Forklift navigation: Driving a forklift is different from driving other vehicles. Forklifts have a tight turn radius and rear-end steering. Some don’t even have mirrors, placing more responsibility on the operator to remain alert and focused.
North Carolina requires forklift licenses
Those operating forklifts in the Tar Heel State must have a certification. It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure that operators pass the course. If they don’t, they may face up to $7000 in fines.
What happens if I get injured?
Sadly, forklift injuries and fatalities are still prevalent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 7000 workers were injured by forklifts from 2011-2017. Those hurt by a forklift may benefit from experienced legal counsel. An attorney at the Bollinger Law Firm can help them get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve.