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The dangers of power industrial trucks

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Power industrial trucks, more commonly referred to as forklifts, present a number of dangers to construction, warehouse and industrial workplaces. Companies have to follow specific safety requirements when forklifts are in the workplace, and workers who are injured in forklift accidents usually have a right to compensation through a workers’ compensation plan.

Federal law dictates who can operate a forklift. Individuals must be 18 years old or older to legally operate a forklift, and even if a worker is of age, he or she must be specifically trained to operate the forklift. In fact, only certified forklift operators can operate the machinery on work sites. By ensuring these requirements are followed, both employers and employees can help protect everyone in the workplace.

In addition to ensuring only trained and certified employees operate forklifts, employers should also ensure everyone who might come into contact with such machines is appropriate trained on the dangers involved. Being aware of what could happen means workers are better prepared to keep accidents from unfolding. For example, certain types of forklifts are more prone to certain types of accidents. Some types of forklifts are more likely to turn over if they aren’t perfectly balanced.

The workplace itself can be a contributing factor for certain types of accidents. A workspace with multiple levels or docks, for instance, is more likely to see accidents that involve forklifts being driven off of a platform. Whatever the reason for an accident, if one does occur, anyone who is injured should know how to protect his or her rights and seek compensation through the proper legal channels.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Powered Industrial Trucks – Forklifts,” accessed Jan. 01, 2016

Jason Fuiman

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Co-Managing Partner and Chair of O'Dwyer & Bernstien's Labor & Employee Benefits practice, Jason has over twenty years of experience in the New York legal industry.