Houston Forklift Accident Lawyers
Forklifts, also called lift or fork trucks, are specialized vehicles used for lifting and lowering heavy materials. They are heavily used in storage warehouses and used to transport items from shelves to trucks and vice versa. According to OSHA, 11% of all forklifts will be involved in an accident. Approximately 85 fatalities per year occur from forklift accidents, with the majority occurring in the manufacturing and construction industries specifically. Furthermore, approximately 70% of all forklift accidents could be avoided with proper training and enforced policies.
At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we are dedicated to standing up for the rights of workers who are endangered or have been injured by an unsafe work environment. If you or a loved one have been injured in a forklift accident, don’t hesitate to contact a Houston construction accident lawyer! We have recovered billions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
OSHA Lift Truck Safety Regulations & Hazards
Because forklifts are specialized vehicles, those who drive and operate forklifts must be specially certified. Many different certification centers around the nation comply with OSHA standards. Those who obtain certification for a forklift usually have to pass a knowledge-based test as well as field testing. There is a massive difference between operating a forklift and other small-scale work vehicles.
Forklifts are more dangerous than regular vehicles in the following:
- A majority have rear-wheel steering
- Most are notoriously unstable
- Many will tip over with heavy loads
Since drivers are so accustomed to driving regular road vehicles, they have trouble becoming accustomed to the rear wheel maneuvering, among other unique forklift features. The other most notoriously dangerous component to lift trucks is their instability. These trucks carry loads that have the potential to fall and cause incredible damage. A falling load can not only drop off the truck but can cause the entire truck to tip over. For this reason, a driver should never attempt to make a turn with a raised load. These are just a few of the many regulations that have been implemented by such institutions as the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation and the OSHA.
Protecting the Rights of Industrial Workers
As an industrial worker, you have rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The reason the act was passed was to protect workers from industrial injury or from being killed in industrial accidents. The Act requires employers to fix common hazards and implement preventative regulations to avoid repeat accidents. This Act protects all workers who work in the private sector or for governments at any level.
Most workers are unaware they can notify OSHA about their workplace if
they believe there is malpractice occurring. In this situation, you would
also be immune from being fired.
Any safety practice that put you at risk is grounds for legal action.
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Those who employ forklift operators have as much responsibility for safety as operators do. Warehouse owners must always ensure the quality and safety of each machine before operation. They are responsible for repairing or replacing faulty machines. Likewise, employees are responsible for operating these machines according to federal and industry standards. Employers cannot hire forklift operators who have not completed a certification program. This is a faulty hiring practice, and any injuries that occur as a result will be the employer's fault.
Protect your rights and the lives of those you work with by pursuing a
claim with Houston construction accident attorneys from Arnold & Itkin.
Begin with a free case evaluation today.