Forklift trucks are common in most workplaces, particularly in warehouses, manufacturing, and construction sites. Their use is to lift things that are too heavy for manual lifting, such as pallets and crates. Forklift trucks are classed as dangerous equipment in a workplace, so operating a forklift requires thorough training. Forklift truck accidents are common, as forklift trucks, along with all workplace machinery, carry a risk of accidents happening. These accidents can sometimes cause serious injury.
What causes forklift truck accidents?
Forklift truck accidents are common. The Health and Safety Executive estimates that, on average, lift trucks are involved in about a quarter of all workplace transport accidents, and that accidents involving lift trucks often happen due to poor supervision and a lack of training. Forklift trucks also weigh a lot, an average truck weighs between 1800-4100kgs, which means it is not uncommon for forklift trucks to hit people who may be surrounding the forklift, or for it to fall over. Forklifts are also different to drive than cars; they steer using the back wheels rather than the front, meaning that thorough training is essential when operating them.
As with a lot of accidents at work, there are many ways that a forklift truck can cause an accident; and there are two main categories of accidents involving forklift trucks; cases where you were the driver, and cases where someone else was the driver.
In cases where you were the driver of the forklift, some of the most common accidents include
- Defective forklifts, including broken, poorly maintained, or otherwise not fit for purpose forklifts.
- Unsafe driving conditions, where the cause of the accident is poor surface conditions, including potholes or uneven ground.
- Weight issues, where the forklift falls over due to the forklift lifting too much weight, or an imbalance in weight due to poor stacking. An empty forklift can also fall, as they are designed to carry weight.
- Incorrect or inadequate training on using the forklift.
In cases where there was someone else driving the forklift, some of the most common accidents include
- Careless or dangerous driving of the forklift, where the driver speeds, swerves, or drives in undesignated areas.
- Collision, where the forklift hits you or runs over you. This can cause injury to the leg or foot.
- Falling debris, where the truck collides with equipment, shelves, or other machinery. This can cause something to fall.
Injuries from forklift truck accidents can also be very serious, and even life changing. The most common injuries from forklift truck accidents include crushing, falling objects, feet and leg injuries and head injuries.
Who is responsible for preventing forklift truck accidents?
According to The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty of care to their staff, to ensure that employees are not injured whilst at work. This applies to all staff, whether full-time or part time, contractors, or sub-contractors, temporary or zero hours workers. Employers should carry out regular risk assessments to ensure the safety of the forklift truck for the operator, and everyone else who is in the workplace. This is especially important in the case of forklift trucks. This means that it is the employer’s responsibility to make sure that the forklift is safe and in a good working condition. They are also responsible for making sure that everyone who uses the forklift has had the correct training and is wearing the correct clothing (high visibility clothing and head protection).
Your employer is responsible for ensuring that your workplace meets health and safety needs, which means that they are responsible for making sure that the workplaces protects employees and others from anything that may cause harm.
Claiming for forklift truck accidents
Often when people have accidents at work, they are unsure about claiming against their employer. However, every company has to have Employer’s Liability Insurance. This insurance covers costs such as accidents at work. The solicitors that we work with negotiate with the insurance company in order to get you the compensation you deserve if you have had an accident at work, not directly with your employer.
How we can help
Here at The Compensation Experts, we work with leading law firms across the country on a No Win No Fee basis. The law firms we work with have years of experience dealing with all types of accident at work claims, including ones involving forklift trucks. You can contact us today to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors, who can help you with your claim. You can fill in the contact form on our website or call 01614138765