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Forklifts are in use by almost every type of industry today. They are powerful machines that are capable of lifting many tons of products, cargo and bales. They can also cause an injury in the blink of an eye due to their size, limited vision and capability. It is important for all employers to properly train and certify anyone who uses forklifts and that they continue to update their training as time progresses and when they bring in new models of forklifts.
A forklift goes by many names including a side loader, high/low, stacker-truck, lift truck, fork truck, tow-motor, fork hoist, trailer loader, lift, pallet trailer and many others. Its basic design has been rather similar over the years. Its purpose is simple: Lift heavy objects or pallets and transport them. This could include loading and unloading a warehouse or backroom, lifting objects on or off of trucks, transporting bales of hay created by a baler to much more. Other types of forklifts include the hand pallet truck, powered pallet truck, low lift truck, rider low lift truck, towing tractor, rider stacker, stacker, reach truck, counterbalanced truck, IC counterbalanced truck, telescopic handler, order picking truck, rider order picking truck, order picker, articulated very narrow aisle counterbalanced truck, guided very narrow aisle trucks, automated forklift truck, flexi truck, truck mounted forklift and sod loader. Regardless of the name or power source, forklifts are powerful machines.
A forklift is composed of many parts that each employee should be trained on. They include the truck frame, counterweight, cab, overhead guard, rear guard, power source, tilt cylinders, mast, carriage(s), and the load back rest. There are also many attachments that employers use to customize their forklift for the tasks it is needed for. They include an L shaped fork, pole attachments, man basket, slip sheet attachment, telescopic forks, scales, sideshifter, rotator, and dimensioning devices. Given that forklifts usually carry valuable materials, freight, products or crops in places that can be tight, full of people or cramped like warehouses, distribution centers, factories, shipyards or shipping docks, forklift operators and drivers need to be well trained on how to drive one and properly operate it in all types of conditions.
It is important for all employers, general contractors, sub contractors and supervisors to fully train all employers and workers who will be using a forklift on the proper way to use that specific model and type of forklift. There needs to be training on maintenance, safety techniques, personal safety equipment usage and how to safely operate one in small or tight spaces. Some of the main causes for injuries from forklifts are from: forklifts tipping over from carrying too heavy a load, forklifts colliding with shelves, people, other equipment and trucks, forklifts being overloaded, forklift operators not using seatbelts, caution, and horns, forklift operators being drunk, forklift being driven with platform elevated, forklift going too fast, forklift going uphill or downhill without proper technique, forklift’s load shifting or falling off, pallet breaks, pallet collapses, and products or equipment falling over while the forklift is raising up. In general, the forklift is a dangerous machine and needs to be taken seriously and always properly maintained by the employer.
Forklift injuries can be very catastrophic due to the immense weight of the products they carry. Some of the possible injuries from forklift accidents include spinal cord injuries, head injuries, brain injuries, amputation, lacerations, concussions, eye injuries, being crushed, ear injuries, broken bones, muscle strains, ligament sprains, becoming deformed, electrocution, wrongful death and more. Whether you are the victim, a coworker of the victim or the family of the victim, we encourage you to call our firm to let us help you.
We at the Law Offices of DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo have represented and helped people who have been hurt from forklift and warehouse accidents for over three decades so we have the knowhow and experience to help you win in court. This is true for either workers’ compensation, third party injury cases, product defect cases, forklift defect cases or personal injury cases. Call us today at (888) 516-8530 to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation.