Forklifts are small industrial vehicles that are used for lifting and transporting stacked cargo and loads in warehouses, loading docks, manufacturing plants and certain retail businesses. Like other motorized vehicles, a forklift can get into an accident that injures its operator or others. The National Safety Council says forklifts were the source of 85 work-related deaths and 7,940 nonfatal injuries resulting in days away from work in 2018. From 2011-2018, an average of more than 7,100 nonfatal forklift injuries each year required time off work.
A forklift has a powered platform at the front that can be raised and lowered for insertion under cargo to lift and move it. A cast iron counterweight at the rear of the vehicle typically counter-balances the load being lifted. Some forklifts allow the operators to sit while operating the machine, while others require the operator to stand. Different styles of forklift may be referred to as a powered industrial truck, lift truck, order picker, reach fork truck, side loader, or pallet jack.
If you have been injured in a forklift accident while at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to pay for your medical care and a portion of your lost income.
A workers’ compensation attorney from Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer can help you determine which benefits you are entitled to claim after a forklift accident in Kentucky. We’ll stand up you and fight for the full benefits available by law. Contact us now for a free claim review.
What are the Main Causes of Forklift Injuries?
It’s not hard to see how a forklift accident can occur. These industrial vehicles have protruding metal forks and zip around a jobsite, forward and backward, alongside workers who are on their feet. It is important for forklift operators to be trained to operate them safely.
Data gathered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) indicate that the three most common forklift-related fatalities involve:
- A forklift that overturns
- Workers on foot being struck by forklifts
- Workers falling from forklifts.
Which areas on a forklift can cause injuries?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says many workers are also injured when:
- Forklifts are inadvertently driven off loading docks
- Forklifts fall between docks and unsecured trailers
- Workers are struck by forklifts
- Workers fall from elevated pallets and/or the platform of a forklift.
A forklift carrying a load can be off-balance and vulnerable to tipping and causing injury.
OSHA says the many types of forklifts present different operating hazards. For example, a sit-down, counterbalanced high-lift rider truck is more likely than a motorized hand truck to be involved in a falling-load accident because the sit-down rider truck can lift a load much higher than a hand truck.
Workplace type and conditions are also factors in hazards commonly associated with powered industrial trucks. For example, forklift accidents involving pedestrians are more likely in retail establishments.
The National Safety Council says that the 7,940 nonfatal workplace accidents involving forklifts in 2018 required injured workers to miss approximately 12 days of work. The injuries included:
- Fractures – 22%
- Bruises, contusions – 20%
- Sprains, sprains, tears – 19%
- Soreness, pain – 19%
- Cuts, lacerations, punctures – 5%
- Multiple traumatic injuries – 4%
- Sprains and other injuries – 2%
- Fractures and other injuries – 1%
- Amputations – 1%
Where Occupational Forklift Injuries Occur
The National Safety Council report identifies the industries in which forklift accidents are most prevalent. They are:
- Service-Providing Industries – 68%
- Trade, transportation and utilities – 63%
- Transportation and warehousing – 27%
- Wholesale trade – 24%
- Retail trade – 12%
- Professional and business services – 4%
- Administrative services – 2%
- Goods-Producing Industries – 32%
- Manufacturing – 25%
- Construction – 6%
What to Do After a Forklift Accident at Work
If you have been injured in a forklift accident at work, it is important that you protect your rights under Kentucky’s workers’ compensation laws by notifying your employer as soon as possible. After reporting the accident, seek medical care. You should be examined by a medical professional to determine the nature and extent of your injury and to receive treatment. When you see a doctor, make sure he or she knows you were on the job when injured.
Once you have a medical diagnosis, provide written notice to your supervisor, including:
- An explanation of the work you were performing
- A detailed description of how the accident occurred
- The names of any witnesses to your accident
- Your injuries as described by the doctor
- Exactly what caused your injuries.
If you miss work because of your injuries, your employer is required to file a report with the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims. Your employer should also provide you with an official accident report within three days of receiving notice that you have been injured on the job.
Once you have notified your employer about your accident, you may file a claim for workers’ compensation. You are eligible for benefits once an injury suffered while on the job has caused you to miss seven days of work. Workers’ compensation pays all of your medical bills and two-thirds of your weekly pay, plus other payments for certain injuries and circumstances.
Unfortunately, filing for workers’ compensation benefits can be a complicated process, particularly if an employer disputes a claim. Kentucky’s workers’ comp program imposes specific deadlines and requires certain proofs to obtain benefits.
That’s why we suggest immediately contacting an attorney that focuses on workers’ compensation claims after being injured in a workplace forklift accident. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer have proven experience in helping workers receive the benefits they deserve and will provide an initial consultation about your claim at no charge.
Talk to Our Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Now
If you have been injured at work in a forklift accident, you should immediately seek medical attention, notify your employer of your accident and injuries, and speak to an attorney about the workers’ compensation benefits you may be eligible to receive. The attorneys at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer are experienced Kentucky workers’ compensation attorneys who have represented workers injured in forklift accident injuries. We understand the benefits due to injured employees in Kentucky.
Contact us now by phone at (877) 809-5352 or by filling out a contact form online. We have offices located across the state of Kentucky. Remember, your initial consultation is absolutely free, and we don’t charge any fee unless we recover compensation for you.