Forklifts are dangerous pieces of equipment in any work environment. Many workers’ compensation claims involving forklift-related accidents are filed every year. Following the January death of an international marine cargo handler employee, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health proposed penalties exceeding $200,000 and issued six citations for serious and willful safety violations.
Reportedly, the deceased worker was a longshoreman who was operating a forklift when he smashed into a concrete column. The impact caused him to be ejected, and he suffered fatal injuries. Inspectors determined that the operator failed to use the machine’s seat belt, and several of the lift truck’s safety features had been disabled. These included the warning buzzer to alert the operator to fasten the seat belt and a device in the seat that disconnects the hydraulic lift when no one is seated.
Safety authorities determined that this fatality could have been prevented if the safety features were not disabled. Employers are responsible for the safety of employees, and a part of this responsibility is to provide adequate safety training. Only adequately trained workers must be allowed to operate dangerous equipment such as forklifts.
Whenever certain types of maritime employees, such as longshoremen, harbor workers, and employees on docks, shipping terminals and shipyards, are injured on-the-job, they might be entitled to benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. The same applies to surviving family members of deceased workers in this industry. An experienced California workers’ compensation attorney can explain the right and assist with the claims procedures in pursuit of benefits.