Workplace Vehicle Accidents
Many industries rely on the use of large vehicles and trucks to complete tasks ranging from transporting products to demolishing buildings. Massive machines like forklifts, dump trucks, light rail cars, tractors, trains, diesel trucks, cement trucks, and lift trucks make a wide variety of jobs possible, but they also carry a high rate of injuries and fatalities for those who operate them and work near them.
In 2018, transportation accidents accounted for almost 40% of fatal injuries across all work industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is not surprising given the weight and cargo of these vehicles. Heavy loads and hazardous chemicals can make vehicles even more dangerous should they collide with other machinery, vehicles, or personnel. Broken bones, internal bleeding, loss of limb, spinal cord damage, and brain injuries are all common occurrences in accidents involving a workplace vehicle.
Accidents involving a workplace vehicle happen too often, despite the fact that it’s relatively easy to prevent many of these occurrences by implementing even the most modest safety measures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigates these incidents and issues citations to employers for failing to implement even the most basic OSHA standards, including some safety precautions that should be pure common sense. One reason for workplace vehicle accidents is many employers don’t take the equipment as seriously as other industrial machines and vehicles. According to experts who have studied these accidents, the most commonly cited factor is inadequate or no training for the operators or those who work around the equipment. More often than should be the case, supervisors simply hand over the keys to a worker and order them to operate it without assessing their ability to do so.
One of the most common vehicles involved in workplace accidents is a forklift. Forklifts, also known as powered industrial trucks, come in several different configurations. The most common standard lift truck is able to lift and tilt heavy loads, usually on pallets, while telescoping forklifts are fitted with arms that can raise loads to heights as high as 40 feet. In a number of industries, a forklift is an essential piece of equipment that can actually go a long way toward preventing serious injury to workers’ backs, legs, and other parts of the body. However, when a forklift is in the hands of the wrong person, it can be extremely dangerous; and, accidents involving forklifts can lead to very serious injuries. Common forklift accidents include workers being struck, carried away by, crushed by a load, the forklift tipping over, falling off the forklift, or the driver being ejected from the forklift. Unfortunately, like other vehicles, managers often don’t view forklifts as serious equipment, so they overlook rules for who should operate them. Inexperienced operators in charge of manning these dangerous pieces of equipment can be harrowing.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to improve the safety of workers near vehicles, such as ensuring issues such as poor visibility, unfiltered fumes, exposed hot parts, a lack of an emergency override shut-off command, or general machine maintenance. Of course, there are personnel issues that must be corrected too—like not pushing operators to rush through their tasks. Operating workplace vehicles can be complex and often requires special training. Companies that employ inexperienced drivers are much more likely to cause an accident. Preparing workers in case of an emergency can also reduce the damage resulting from an unfortunate incident.
As is often the case, many workplace vehicle accidents occur because companies place their bottom line ahead of safety for workers. These types of vehicles can easily cause a life-threatening incident if due diligence is not observed by companies and managerial staff. Workers have the right to a safe workplace, and when this is compromised due to negligence, the at-fault party may be held liable for the costs of any injuries. Determining who is responsible for the damages can be challenging, but a skilled attorney can confidently review your case and inform you about potential options.
Workplace Vehicle Accidents Lawyers
Seeking compensation after a workplace vehicle related injury can be an overwhelming prospect. With the guidance of Adame Garza LLP, you can rest assured the best course of action is being pursued as effectively as possible. Contact us today to discuss your unique situation and learn how we can help you get back on your feet.