During the recent National Forklift Safety Day, safety authorities nationwide urged employers in California and other states to review their safety programs and modify them where necessary. Many workers’ compensation claims involve workers who were on foot when they were injured in forklift accidents. For this reason, safety training for pedestrians in manufacturing facilities, warehouses and fulfillment or distribution centers is crucial.
Forklift operators have to deal with blind spots and other issues that can block their vision while they lift and haul products in areas where workers move about on foot. As examples of typical forklift vs. pedestrian accidents, authorities used a case in which a forklift crushed a punch press operator in a computer components manufacturing plant. Reportedly, her workstation was too close to the path traveled by the forklift. The operator of the machine struck a bin filled with metal scrap adjacent to the woman’s workstation while backing up, causing the bin to push the press up against the worker.
Another incident that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated involved a pedestrian worker who hitched a ride on a forklift. The 17-year-old worker jumped off the moving forklift, and he fell when his foot was caught by the rear tire. The heavy forklift traveled over him and caused fatal injuries. OSHA underscored the need to include pedestrian workers in forklift-related safety talks and training.
Pedestrian workers who have to cope with the consequences of forklift accidents might find themselves overwhelmed by mounting medical bills and lost wages. Fortunately, the California workers’ compensation insurance system covers all workplace injury victims. An attorney who is experienced in this field of the law can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the challenging benefits claims process.