Preventing Forklift Truck Accidents at Work

Melanie Burden Personal Injury Solicitor
Melanie Burden
Partner, Head of Employer's Liability - Serious Injury

Many employees are under increasing pressure to work quickly as employers push to meet customer demand and deadlines. But this can lead to workers becoming exhausted and safety standards being compromised.

This in turn can cause an accident at work and serious injuries, especially if workers are operating heavy lifting equipment such as forklift trucks.

Forklift trucks and other heavy lifting equipment are a very effective way of lifting, transporting and stacking loads in places such as warehouses, supermarkets, building sites, loading bays, factories, ports and airports.

Used safely, there’s no doubt they help reduce the risk of manual handling injuries, but they can still be dangerous if employers haven’t taken basic preventative measures, such as putting a safe system of work in place and carried out proper risk assessments.

Our expert Serious Injury Solicitors often speak to people who have been injured in this type of accident and have helped many get the compensation, care and support they desperately need.

So if you’ve been injured in a forklift truck accident and want to discuss your options, get in touch with our team of specialists for a free claims assessment. We’ll be happy to discuss your situation with you and how we can help. Ask us if we can act on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Call us on 0808 239 3227 or request a callback

Common Causes of Forklift Truck Accidents

  • User error, such as not noticing another person, object or vehicle in the workplace and colliding with them
  • Insufficient training and supervision
  • No marked or designated traffic routes, and driving over uneven surfaces
  • Overloaded pallets and unsecure loads
  • Poor maintenance of equipment
  • Crowded workplaces

This type of workplace accident can lead to many different types of injury, including:

  • Head and brain injuries
  • Fractures
  • Crush injuries
  • Degloving injuries
  • Sprains, torn ligaments and whiplash
  • Fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations
  • Fatal accidents

How Common are Forklift Truck Accidents?

According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive, there are an average of 8,000 forklift truck accidents every year.

This type of accident accounts for a quarter of all workplace injuries in the UK, and more than half of those killed or injured in forklift truck accidents are pedestrians in the workplace.

More than 1,300 people are admitted to hospital with serious forklift truck injuries every year, and the numbers are rising.

What Safety Measures Should Employers Take?

There are many measures employers should take to reduce the chances of forklift truck accidents in the workplace. For example, they should:

  • Maintain a clean, well-organised and tidy workplace
  • Carry out rigorous risk assessments and update them regularly to identify material risks
  • Provide adequate training to staff, so they’re aware of risks and how to deal with them, and the company knows
  • Have adequate supervision of staff in place, along with a system of inspecting and maintaining machinery
  • Put up warning signs close to known hazards, such as uneven surfaces and dangerous machinery, and ensure safe walkways and routes in busy warehouses are clearly marked.
  • Make sure forklift drivers wear a seatbelt, hard hat and hi-vis vest, take regular breaks and drive at appropriate speeds
  • Provide personal protective equipment, such as hard hats, goggles and gloves
  • Maintain safe loading and unloading processes, and use lifting equipment most appropriate for the task
  • Make sure all lifting equipment is clearly marked with the safe working load limit

But sadly, there are times when an avoidable accident at work does happen. If an employer was negligent and failed to keep you safe at work and you’re injured as a result, you could claim compensation for your injuries. Contact our Serious Injury Solicitors so we can discuss your situation with you.

Who is Responsible for a Forklift Truck Injury?

Employers have a legal duty to provide and maintain a safe system of work. For companies such as warehouse operators, there is further specific legislation that places duties on people and companies to safely operate, control, maintain and inspect work equipment and machinery, such as lifting equipment.

So employers can be prosecuted and fined if they’re found to have breached any of these regulations and failed to keep their workers safe.

Employers have mandatory insurance in place to provide cover for injuries at work, with any compensation being paid out from their Employers’ Liability Insurance.

In some cases, there may be more than one company involved. For example, an accident may happen when a firm is accepting and unloading a delivery brought by another company. The load or pallet might have been incorrectly loaded or not secured by another company, so sometimes it’s necessary to pursue a claim against several different companies. 

If you suffer such an injury, make sure you know details of the company that delivered the item, report the accident to your employer and make sure your employer reports the accident to the other firm.

For free legal advice call our Personal Injury Solicitors

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