A significant percentage of California businesses make use of forklifts, and these useful but dangerous pieces of equipment are used on construction sites, warehouses, fulfillment centers and more. However, forklift accidents also result in a significant number of workers’ compensation claims. Safety authorities say compliance with federal and state regulations can prevent almost all these accidents.
The first step in safe forklift operation is adequate training. Only certified operators must work on forklifts, and they must know how to carry out routine inspections before every shift to identify the need for maintenance and repairs. Training must include proper parking procedures, including a rule to lower the fork when parking the vehicle. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a significant threat, and adequate ventilation is essential when these machines are used in enclosed areas.
Learning proper loading techniques is crucial, as a large number of forklift accidents involve unbalanced loads that lead to tip-overs. Overloading poses the same hazard, and operators must ensure that the load never blocks the view. Furthermore, the forklift must never be used to elevate co-workers to higher levels, and strict driving rules must be in place that will ensure the safety of other workers who share their workspace with forklifts.
Typical forklift-related accidents include tip-overs and incidents in which operators or other workers become crushed or pinned under the machine or against other surfaces. California workers who are suffering the consequences of such accidents might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. An attorney with experience in this field can assist with the navigation of benefits claims to obtain compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.