Forklift Truck Accident
Forklift trucks are well known, but the term forklift is sometimes loosely applied to ‘reach trucks’ which retrieve and place items on high stacks, and ‘stand up’ trucks on which the driver stands to steer and control that truck.
Forklift accidents then, are commonplace and the dangers are well known. It is therefore the employer’s responsibility to minimise these risks in accordance with the law. There is a myriad of legislation and guidelines by which employers must abide, but generally speaking it falls to them to provide a ‘duty of care’ to their staff. This involves identifying and minimising risks whilst ensuring employee safety throughout the course of their work; making changes and issuing the necessary training and equipment to overcome new hazards and to comply with new guidelines.
In the case of forklift truck use, the Health and Safety Commission has published an approved code of Practice (ACOP) named: ‘Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training’. This code of practice clearly defines the legal minimum standard of basic training that employees must receive before being allowed to operate forklift trucks. This code covers the proper stacking of rider operated lift trucks as well as their operation. The guide also explains that forklift truck operators should be able to move the whole of their body fully to maintain their awareness of hazards and people around the vehicle at all times. At the same time, forklift trucks, like any other tools or equipment must be inspected and maintained regularly by certified personnel. Where faults and issues are found, these need to be recorded. Forklifts that do require repairs or maintenance must not be used, lest they cause injury to the operator or other personnel in the vicinity. On average forklift trucks are involved in 24% of all workplace transport accidents and this number can be reduced where correct inspection and maintenance guidelines are followed.
Employers that use fork lift trucks should provide operators and ground personnel with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as high visibility jackets, hard hats and safety boots. They also have a duty to try and separate areas of forklift operation from those used by pedestrians; ensuring safe circulation as per section 17 of the Workplace ( Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Protective barriers should be erected just outside entrances and exits to prevent ground personnel from stepping into the path of moving fork lift trucks. Forklift routes should be clearly marked and they should give way to pedestrians where their paths might cross. Supervisors and trained professionals should also be present to supervise forklift operators so as to identify any arising issues before a serious incident occurs.
What Causes Forklift Accidents at Work?
Accidents involving forklift trucks are often due to poor supervision and a lack of training. In the event that any of the responsibilities above are neglected by the employer, personnel can be injured and even killed in forklift accidents as a result.
Where areas of forklift truck operation are not clearly defined, or where safety equipment and safeguards are absent, employees can be hit by moving forklifts or crushed by falling goods. Accidents like these can result in crushing and tearing injuries as well as lacerations; all of which can lead to debilitating injuries and even death. Where a forklift truck has been improperly maintained, it may malfunction causing injury to either the operator or other personnel on the ground or in the vicinity.
Industrial noise has also been known to contribute to forklift accidents. Noise from machinery can mask the noises associated with forklift use, so staff could walk into the paths of oncoming vehicles without warning, leading to further accidents and injury.
Whatever the cause, there is a good chance that your employer could have taken steps to prevent it. Where this can be proven, you may be eligible to make a forklift accident claim for compensation.
What should happen in the event of a forklift accident?
It is vital that all forklift trucks are used and maintained in accordance with the law to prevent these accidents from occurring. Where serious accidents do occur they should be reported in accordance with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). Where appropriate, the forklift truck should be moved to help free the victim; unless they have been impaled, in which case you should ask the emergency services for advice on how to proceed. Any stock or nearby items that could be crushing the victim should also be noted; in some instances it is better the leave them, to prevent toxins and fluids resulting from trauma from re-entering the bloodstream. Such incidents should also be catalogued in an accident book, whilst onlookers and witnesses should provide their details so they can be contacted in future regarding forklift accidents. The victim should be cared for by the on-duty first aider until professional help arrives; if the victim is unconscious or bleeding, be sure to keep their airway open and try to control the bleeding as much as possible.
Forklift Accident Compensation Claims
Injuries resulting from forklift truck accidents tend to be more serious than most common workplace injuries. The severity of the injury however will vary depending upon the circumstances of the accident. According to HSE figures however, almost 75% of victims were forced to take time off work. For many, this can result in a substantial loss of earnings which can create further life complications. A successful forklift accident compensation claim can provide funds to help cover bills and medical expenses, providing a buffer that can allow you to focus on recuperating and rejoining the workplace.
At the worst however, you could be permanently disabled and unable to work, assuming the accident is not fatal. In situations like this, it pays to get an expert personal injury solicitor involved as quickly as possible. They will be able to proceed with your claim on your behalf, collating all of the required evidence and documentation to substantiate your claim. If you instruct Asons Solicitors to do this for you, we will manage the entire process whilst providing expert support and advice throughout.
We’ve dealt with a variety of forklift accident compensation claims, so we understand how hard it can be for sufferers to take this important and decisive step. The law protects those who come forward to claim compensation, so if you fear for your job security, do not be put off from making a claim. If your employer has been negligent in their duty to provide a safe working environment for you, and you have suffered as a result, compensation is the lawful way for them to make amends.
I think I may be affected, what should I do?
If you have suffered an injury due to a forklift truck accident, you should contact Asons Solicitors today. We can arrange for you to see a specialist who will be able to determine the best course of treatment, whilst detailing the true extent of your injuries for our records. We can then begin building your claim for forklift accident compensation.
After consulting with us, you should also notify your current employer. You should speak to them to ensure that your injury can be accommodated, whilst ensuring that appropriate safeguards and measures are put into place to prevent other staff members and colleagues from becoming victims of the same accident that you were involved in.
Forklift Accidents Resources
Our comprehensive guide to the problem of accidents sustained at work, called Workplace Accidents – The Occupational Hazard, details all types of common claims from falls to forklift accidents to electric shocks to hearing loss, alongside remarkable statistics on their occurrence.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provides plenty of helpful information for both employers and victims of forklift accidents. It provides brochures and printed material for use in the work place as well as guides and checklists for ensuring employee safety. It also includes directions to other support groups that deal with specific injuries so you may find added support and information there.
We pride ourselves on our provision of first-class legal advice and support. Our team of expert solicitors have a wealth of expertise, and knowledge, that you will be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. So for free, expert advice on pursuing a forklift accident claim, speak to us today.