Even though machines help people increase their productivity and efficiency, they also have the potential to lead to serious injuries. Hot surfaces and open flames can lead to burn injuries. Sharp, spinning blades can cause amputations. Large objects can lead to crush injuries. Such is the case with forklifts.
Those who have used a forklift understand the dangers that these vehicles present. According to information published by the Department of Occupational Health and Safety:
- About 85 people every year are killed while using a forklift.
- Close to 35,000 people sustain serious injuries while using a forklift every year.
- Non-serious injuries using forklifts are reported at a rate of around 200 per day.
- The most common forklift accident is an overturn, accounting for about a quarter of all forklift accidents.
- OSHA estimates that close to three-quarters of all forklift accidents are preventable with proper training and attention to detail.
These statistics demonstrate just how dangerous forklifts can be. It is important to understand why and how these accidents happen so that they can be prevented in the future. A recent research study was completed to analyze the factors involved in forklift accidents.
A Study: Forklift Accidents
A team of research professionals examined all the forklift accidents that were brought to their local hospital over a period of four years. They analyzed the medical charts for over 5,200 patients and used statistical analysis to find trends. Important results from their study include:
- Over 100 of these patients had sustained crush injuries.
- The most common mechanism was a crush injury involving the wheel of the forklift.
- About a third of patients sustained multiple bone fractures in their foot as a result of the accident.
- Forty patients wound up requiring a hospital stay and almost all of them required surgery to repair their injury.
- Five of the patients developed compartment syndrome, which required emergent intervention.
Of note, the patients who had surgery had a lower rate of complications than those who did not. Common complications following a surgical procedure include:
- An infection of the surgical site.
- Pain that requires narcotic or opioid treatment.
- Prolonged bleeding which could require a blood transfusion.
Fortunately, many of the patients involved in this study made a complete recovery and were able to return to work.
Consequences of Forklift Accidents
While many of these patients did make a full recovery, it is important to note that prolonged, long-term complications of serious foot injuries could make it difficult to walk. This can have serious impacts on their quality of life. Furthermore, some patients could require long-term pain medication to control their symptoms, opening the door for possible addiction problems. Therefore, it is important to discuss prevention of forklift accidents. Examples of possible interventions include:
- Educating employees about the dangers of forklifts and possible injuries.
- Ensuring that everyone who uses a forklift has been trained to do so properly.
- Putting up proper hazard and warning markings to keep people away from the forklift who shouldn’t be using it.
- Locking up and powering down the forklift when not in use.
- Minimizing blind spots and taking advantage of warning sounds while using the forklift.
By using these precautions, the chances of a forklift accident are reduced and people are kept safe.
Watch YouTube Video: Basic Forklift Safety Rules. This video describes some basic rules to safely operate a forklift.
Machine Accident Lawyers in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a machine accident lawyer in Sacramento. Forklift accidents can be severe. If you or someone you know has been involved in a forklift accident, contact me for a consultation free of charge at 916-584-9355.
I’ve assisted many people in the Northern California area with their wrongful death and personal injury cases over the past 3 decades. I represent injured individuals and their family members while helping them earn the compensation that they are entitled to.
Image Citation: The image on this page was found on Pixabay.com The photo is shown at this location under the Creative Commons License, version CC0.
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