FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-01-30
Tens of thousands of forklift injuries occur in U.S. workplaces and construction sites each year. In Florida, the construction industry is the single largest source of workers' compensation claims. Unfortunately, many injuries are caused by a lack of safe operating procedures and inadequate training.
Recently, a Bonita Springs man was killed in a forklift accident while delivering roofing tiles. The man was walking between a forklift and a delivery truck when he was run over by the forklift. An investigation revealed that a broken rear view mirror and non-functional reverse beeper contributed to cause the accident. The experience and inadequacy of training of the forklift driver also contributed to the fatal forklift injury.
Machinery accidents such as this one occur daily in the construction industry. Even tasks that may seem routine, such as delivering or dropping off materials, can become dangerous and even deadly if safety procedures are not maintained and carefully followed. Construction accident attorneys assist workers injured in falls, lifting and machinery accidents or who have suffered burns or other injury while on the job at a Florida construction site.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is investigating the Bonita springs construction accident fatality, but has not yet announced whether the company will be cited for workplace safety violations or face civil penalties in this work-related accident.
OSHA Regulations and Forklift Safety
Forklifts, or powered industrial trucks, account for tens of thousands of injuries each year in the construction industry, according to OSHA. Anyone under the age of 18 or who has not had proper training are specifically prohibited by OSHA regulations from operating a forklift.
OSHA also requires that forklifts be inspected daily for safety and employers must provide training to forklift operators on vehicle inspection and any maintenance that the operator is expected to perform. OSHA provides checklists that employers can use to ensure a safe workplace. Failing to follow OSHA regulations can result in injury or death of construction workers as well as fines and penalties to employers.
Federal regulations also cover the design and construction standards for the manufacturing of forklifts. A forklift must be approved by a testing company prior to use and must bear a sticker or other mark to indicate that it has been approved as meeting standards for safety and construction.
Construction accidents can be devastating and have tragic outcomes. Despite strict regulations to protect the safety of construction workers and forklift operators, accidents can and do happen. When an injury occurs while a worker is on the job, the construction worker's medical expenses are typically covered by the workers' compensation system. A workers' compensation lawyer can explain the process to an injured worker who is seeking benefits under the workers' compensation system in your area.