A forklift can be large, and it can be small. It has been given and has earned itself many names and distinctions over the years. And these were coined by the people who admire it most, laborers. For example, it was given the name “jitney,” long ago, which is a slang word for something cheap, like a bargain cab fare. Having worked in the construction and warehouse industry before I was a lawyer, I learned to drive these machines.
And I know first hand that we blue-collar guys become very fond of our forklifts. As a result, over time, manual workers have given them glorified, or odd names depending on the industry (farming, sawmilling, dock work, commercial and residential construction, aircraft, trucking/shipping, aviation manufacturing, and with locomotive trainmen, etc.). Most of all, these powered industrial trucks are heavily used at locomotive terminals, meatpacking plants, and in the longshoring trades.
The forklift in Los Angeles is used in many phases of construction projects. And anyone who has seen the phases of land development has noticed various types of forklifts moving around. Most of all, these machines are indispensable tools used at virtually every warehouse or dock’s Material Transfer Zone (“MTZ”). The enormous amount of warehouses and ports around us make a Los Angeles forklift accident a looming threat.
The industry also has other widely used names for these powerful workhorses, such as:
But a working guy may call it a “bull.” Sawyers have coined other examples of the machine’s street talk definitions in sawmills like “Hyster,” “Gerty,” or “Gobbler.” (Think Cat 966). And some cliques such as union ironworkers may use their lingo when referencing this contraption.
Just like Marines call their M-16 a “rifle,” and soldiers call it a “gun,” this tool’s name remains a term of endearment beloved and unique to each type of workplace and industry.
A Los Angeles forklift accident is one of the primary ways construction workers suffer disability or death. Workers’ compensation benefits usually won’t cover the pain and suffering associated with a Los Angeles forklift accident, however.
Forklift Defined: Not to be confused with a human-powered floor jack or hand truck, forklifts can be one of a variety of machine-powered, wheeled devices designed and used to lift, stack, store and carry various materials. Examples of some things these heavy machines carry are agricultural goods, cumbersome construction pallets, and other commodities over short distances.
Due to its ability to lift heavy objects into the air with its “fork” or “forks” and stack and slide them into shelves, these hoisting machines are indispensable at warehouses, agricultural harvesting, and storage areas, construction sites, agricultural, and manufacturing industries. As will be discussed, the history of forklifts and various safety laws is full of catastrophes. Here we discuss the aspects of employer and third party liability to compensate you when you are injured in a forklift accident.
As noted alluded to above, attorney Michael Ehline was a building contractor, day laborer, and warehouse worker. He has driven forklifts and directed them. He has seen the accidents and injuries they can cause.
As a personal injury lawyer, his offices at Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC, have successfully won injured workers, pedestrians, and surviving families, millions of dollars for heavy machinery accidents, including those involving lift truck.
Ehline is the holder of multiple Super Lawyers Rising Star Awards and was recognized in 2016 as Personal Injury Warrior of the year by Personal Injury Warriors International.
Although Michael is not a hail fellow, well met, he is a man of high social standards and integrity, and he expects the same of those he works with. As a former Marine, he understands slothfulness, motivation, and leadership.
He also understands that having the wrong member on his elite team hurts your mission in getting paid what you deserve for undeserved personal injuries and all your past hard work.
We understand you may be partially or permanently disabled. And it goes without saying that you are probably struggling hard to pay your rent as you lick your wounds and rest.
So we know that right now, probably more than ever, money is your primary objective because you need it now just to heal up and get better! Because of this, Ehline has taken great effort to surround himself with the grandest and most trustworthy team of file clerks, investigators, paralegals, legal secretaries, staff attorneys, and more.
That way, calls get returned, and a certain degree of hand-holding can occur so our clients can have peace of mind, and we guide them through the investigative process, on to final victory.
Below, we will cover more about forklifts, what they do, how they can help, and how they can cause injuries and death.
Next, we include the costs of workplace safety laws and licensing, as well as how to avoid being harmed. Finally, we cover how to get paid if you or someone you know gets hurt or killed by one of these massive, industrial machines.
Did you suffer lost wages, pain, and suffering and wish to make an injury claim? With millions recovered for happy clients, our superior Los Angeles forklift accident lawyers can help you recover money for medical bills and serious injuries.
We also offer a free case review. After your free consultation, our injury attorney can discuss treatments for your traumatic brain injury and other serious injuries.
Is it a pound of cure? So how can we stop these accidents from happening and protect our people? Knowing the most common causes of forklift accidents is a good start. But changing some laws may help too. For example, restroom locations should not be so close to forklift areas and paths.
Yet, many grocers and places like Home Depot, or Lowes, have to design their warehouses in such a way to ensure workers in the back, as well as people in the store, have access to public toilets. So it has long been that case that restrooms are located at or near the same areas where employees use forklifts, hand trucks, and other devices to transport goods to be faced and shelved inside the store. It becomes costly to locate additional restrooms in other parts of the facilities.
So many small to medium-sized stores need to balance public and employee restroom convenience and location with the law and costs. Many of you have seen the double doors that swing inward and outward to allow crates and lift trucks to stock other parts of the store. The law actually promotes this problem in the interests of being fair.
Employers must provide at least the minimum number of toilet facilities, in toilet rooms separate for each sex (see the table in 29 CFR 1910.141(c)(1)(i)), and prompt access to the facilities when needed. Restroom access frequency needs may vary significantly from worker to worker, and may be affected by medications, fluid intake, air temperature, and other factors.
Because of the ADA, and other laws promulgated by OSHA, the location of restrooms could be a factor in non-employees deaths and injuries. Since access can vary for some workers, employers must make certain everyone, not just workers, has prompt access.
Because of this, others are vulnerable to being crushed by an unstable load, forklift operator inattentiveness, an overturning, such as from an unstable load, and so on. We’ll explore some of these other hazards and highlight some ways to prevent them from endangering employees and guests.
The numbers are conflicting. Every year over <a “href=”https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2001-109/”>20,000 workers are killed or seriously injured in work-related incidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”). CDC data also says that injured workers can total $38,000 in direct costs per injured worker and $150,000 in indirect expenses. (Source). And according to OSHA, yearly, there are over 34,900 mild, moderate, to severe injuries to people involved in “powered industrial truck” accidents.
The term powered industrial truck is defined in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME B56.1 (formerly the ANSI B56.1 standard) as a “mobile, power propelled truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack, or tier material.” (Source).
At least 61,800 yearly powered industrial accidents don’t require serious hospitalization. But OSHA also claims that one out of every six workplace deaths involves a powered truck. Forklift accidents, on average, result in 85 annual deaths in the United States.
That’s a lot of close calls. Also, crush injuries arising from an overturning forklift make up around 42% of forklift fatalities each year. Another interesting thing to note is that during their “useful life,” 90% of forklifts get into a wreck or accident. some type of accident. (Note. This calculation assumes there was only one accident per forklift during the average 8 years life of a front lifter such as this)
OSHA claims that about 70% of forklift accidents in the US could be prevented if companies instituted better safety and workplace training. Operator inattention remains the leading cause of forklift accidents, and it’s 100% preventable. While operator inattention can be caused by fatigue, distractions, or simply carelessness, it’s imperative that operators stay alert and take steps to keep everyone, including themselves safe. (Source).
In the news, we hear stories of truck lifts and people being struck in the head by a load. But there are all kinds of cases where these vehicles fall over and crush workers, or where elevated employees are falling to their death. Again, most of this is due to a lack of proper safety training.
About one million active forklifts operate in the United States. At least 11% of forklifts get in an accident annually. Because of mishaps like this, OSHA has regulations to make operating these powerful work vehicles remain as safe as possible. But accidents from inattention and bad training remain common, as do deaths and injuries from malfunctioning equipment. An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure.
What Are Some Examples of OSHA Forklift Accidents in the News?
At 5:30 a.m. on November 13, 2019, an employee was working for a firm that provided warehousing and storage. He was operating a stand-up forklift. He was moving material on pallets. He was driving the forklift at too high a speed. He struck the mid rail of storage racks that were in the back of him. He was pinned between the forklift and the rail of the rack.
His upper torso was struck against the mid-rail by the forklift. He was killed. (Source). In addition to getting punched in the head by police, Home Depot forklift operators are known to be injured in all types of ways. What Are The Main Causes of Forklift Accidents and Some Fixes?
Seeing forklift drivers speeding around a near-empty warehouse is not an uncommon event. But sometimes operators get too brave and become reckless. Like all vehicles, the faster you drive, the less time you have to react. That means there will be an increased chance you will crash or tip over. OSHA says that forklift operators should drive 5 miles per hour or less. Employers can reinforce this speed limit by hanging signs around the complex. And tailgate safety meetings should spell out safety rules loud and clear.
Driver’s education is number one in preventing forklift wrecks. But just going forward and backward and turning is not enough. Drivers need to know about ad deal with changes in elevation and grade, where people are standing, and whether visibility is obscured.
Many operators get lazy and don’t take steps to keep their load as low to the ground as possible when moving materials from place to place. It presents a blockage to forward visibility when loads are carried too high, and they can tip over easier. The closer to the ground is better. OSHA recommends around 4 inches off the ground.
Forklifts can tip easily, especially when carrying heavy loads. As they navigate turns, their rear ends tend to swing in an outward direction. Because of this, tipping during turning, especially when carrying loads, is very common and very dangerous. And the tighter the turn, the more harrowing the risks of an accident. So go about things slowly when you are negotiating corners and turns. Stay safe in these hazardous areas.
Employers need to create and upkeep forklift zones. That way, people on foot, as well as forklifts, know to stay in their lane, so to speak. Simply put, it makes it easier for people to know of potential danger, and it acts as highway marking to lead the operator on a safer path. Paint, tape, stickers, and decals can be used to mark floors, aisles, walkways, rails, and shelves. Floor tape and floor signs are the most efficient option for marking forklift zones due to ease of application and durability.
Only use the provided seat and seatbelt if provided. Obviously, letting someone ride on a forklift is stupid and not worthy of further discussion.
As noted above, management should ponder the layout of their buildings and installations when selecting the right forklift. Most of all, it has to fit in all the nicks and crannies of the warehouse and loading bays. Also, aisles and intersections must remain obstruction-free. So take steps to remove debris and clutter from the floors, and obey all posted signs and floor markings. And employers need to make sure operators know about the different bumps, ridges, and elevation changes involving warehouses and loading docks.
If forward vision is obstructed, just drive in reverse. Stay alive and protect others if you can’t see past your load.
Tipping is primarily caused by shifting or lack of balance in the loadout. Taking time to lock down loose loads, and pitch the Balance, and tighten loads + angle forks up can go a long way to preventing a crush, or another injury.
Although these machines are designed to be safe for their loads, they get old and beat up over time. It’s up to the team to make sure they see the signs of wear before there is a bad mechanical failure. So inspect these machines often, including before, during, and after the shift. Always document any issues for the safety officer.
Always park your lift out of the way in a designated space when not in use, and remove the key. Always wear personal protective equipment like reflective orange vests, safety harnesses, and headgear if required so that people can spot you.
Imagine a 4 to 10,000-pound lift truck rolling away on an incline. Imagine the damage it could wreak. Because of this, you should always take the step of setting the emergency brakes.
Above, we discussed many types of injuries that happen with forklifts in various industries.
Below are some of the types of injuries we help people with.
Of course, this is just a partial list of injury cases we take. When someone gets hurt in an accident, and it wasn’t their fault, they may be entitled to worker’s compensation insurance payments and other money.
If a bystander was hurt, or a worker was hurt due to a poorly designed or manufactured forklift, or one not fit for the use it was sold, these plaintiffs can sue for products liability, and other negligence law claims.
After suing, Ehline’s goal is to get the plaintiff as much money as possible, in the form of a damages award.
In other words, as your lawyers, we will fight to get you money for past, present, and future pain, suffering, medical bills, pain medicine, special equipment like wheelchairs, and even a special van with a hydraulic lift.
To recap, forklifts are a tremendous tool, but without proper safety programs, these machines can cause deadly catastrophic accidents, leading to devastating Los Angeles forklift accidents.
Safety is paramount to the success of any business. And this guide and tips for you and your loved ones explained training information, tips, and inspection checklists to ensure forklifts are operating safely.
Our forklift accident lawyers also covered more about forklifts, like what they do and how they do it, and how to sue a property owner or manufacturer for forklift negligence.
Next, we will cover how to get a free case consultation at our law offices for worksite and loading dock premises liability negligence in Los Angeles County, CA.
If you or someone you love was hurt or seriously harmed due to a lift truck accident, don’t sleep on your legal rights. Call Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC now at (213) 596-9642 and discuss your valuable, fundamental legal rights. The call is free, so don’t delay.
Get justice and compensation for your Los Angeles forklift accident, by speaking with Los Angeles forklift accident attorneys today.
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