Forklift injuries often result in work-related deaths
A 45-year-old employee recently died in a forklift accident at a lumber shipping yard in Alabama, highlighting the risk employees face when they operate or work nearby forklifts.
"A forklift typically weighs between 4,000 to 9,000 pounds and poses a significant risk of severe injury or death to workers who may be struck by this equipment," the director of the OSHA area office said in a statement. "Employers must take precautions in workplaces that use powered industrial vehicles to prevent devastating incidents and the loss of someone's life."
In 2020, forklifts were involved in nearly 7,300 work injuries and over 75 deaths.
Fatal forklift accident at work
In November, a woman was fatally struck by a forklift as she was walking across the lumber yard at Sunbelt Forest Products Corp. ( an LLC), OSHA reports.
Although the accident happened in Alabama, it demonstrates the danger employees face every day in warehouses, manufacturing plants, distribution centers, stores, and other workplaces where forklifts are used.
After conducting an investigation, OSHA says Sunbelt, a treated lumber manufacturer, failed to meet several federally required safety benchmarks. OSHA proposed a $53,866 penalty and cited the company for:
- Exposing workers to struck-by hazards. Employees should not have been allowed to walk where the woman was struck because that space creates an obstructed view for forklift operators.
- Forklift drivers were not required to have a "clear view." For safety, forklift operators should have an unobstructed view of where they are going.
- Lacking marked travel lanes. Sunbelt should have had markings that distinguish lanes for shipping department travel aisles for trucks, forklifts, and pedestrians.
- Keeping damaged forklifts in service.
The lumber company may comply, request an informal hearing, or contest the OSHA penalties.
Forklifts can weigh up to three times more than the average passenger vehicle and travel at speeds of up to 18 mph. They can be difficult to operate because they only have one set of brakes, making them harder to stop.
In short, a lot can go wrong when operating a forklift, and it only takes one accident to cause an injury that changes your life forever—or ends it. That's why if you were injured in a forklift accident at work, an attorney can protect your rights and help you find your way forward.
Injured workers have legal rights
If you've been injured on the job in Ohio, you have the right to seek workers' compensation benefits. Workers' comp provides wage and medical benefits to injured workers, but the process is complex, and if you don't meet certain deadlines or legal requirements, you could lose out on the benefits you're entitled to.
At Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A., we have more than 150 years of combined experience and understand what it takes to handle workers' compensation claims in Ohio successfully. That's because our law firm has been serving the people of Ohio since 1969.
Let our attorneys help you navigate the workers' comp process, advocate for the medical treatment you need, and fight to help you obtain all the benefits you qualify for under Ohio law. To find out how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Ohio workers' compensation attorney.
With offices in Dayton, Cincinnati, Springfield, and Troy, we proudly serve clients throughout the state.