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Forklifts, also known as powered industrial trucks, come in several different configurations. The most common standard lift truck is able to lift and tilt heavy loads, usually on pallets, while telescoping forklifts are fitted with arms that can raise loads to heights of as much as 40 feet. In a number of industries, a forklift is an essential piece of equipment that can actually go a long way toward preventing serious injury to workers’ backs, legs, and other parts of the body.
On the other hand, when a forklift is in the hands of the wrong person, like a worker with too little training and a tendency to be careless, forklifts can be extremely dangerous and accidents involving them can lead to very serious injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), forklift accidents often cause injuries like broken bones, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries or even death.
These accidents happen too often, despite the fact that it’s relatively easy to prevent virtually all forklift accidents by implementing even the most modest safety measures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigates these incidents and issues citations to employers for failing to implement even the most basic OSHA standards, including some safety precautions that should be pure common sense.
One reason for that seems to be that a great many employers don’t seem to take forklifts seriously enough as other industrial machines and vehicles. According to experts who have studied these accidents, the most commonly cited factor is inadequate or no training for either forklift operators or those who work around the forklift or both. More often than should be the case, supervisors simply hand over the keys to a worker and order that they operate it without assessing their ability to do so. According to OSHA and Texas law, every forklift operator is required to be trained and certified to certain standards.
Of course, there are many other reasons for accidents, including pushing operators to rush through their tasks, as well as inadequate repairs or maintenance of the forklift itself. In many cases, the age of the forklift is a factor. As is often the case, many forklift accidents occur because companies have a tendency to place their bottom line ahead of safety for workers.
Thankfully, in addition to OSHA regulations, Texas law offers protection for those workers who are injured on the job, as well as protection for anyone who is injured as a result of product defects or negligence, all of which may be factors in a forklift accident. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed in an accident involving a forklift, contact the Texas forklift accident lawyers at Adame Garza LLP immediately, so that we can examine the facts of your case, help protect your legal rights and get you the full compensation you’re entitled to.