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Forklift accidents common causes of injuries and death

Forklifts are commonplace in a variety of industries, especially those requiring the use of warehouses, all across New Jersey. Many businesses categorize these machines as invaluable equipment with which work could not happen. However, they are also dangerous and account for a significant number of workplace accidents, according to Tools of the Trade.

Many of these accidents could have been prevented with proper safety measures in place. Following simple guidelines, such as using headlights, observing speed limits, yielding to pedestrians and retaining a clear field of vision, could have prevented 70 percent of forklift accidents. These accidents do not just affect the driver; pedestrians are also at risk. In fact, pedestrians are involved in almost 80 percent of accidents. 

Out of all the fatal workplace injuries that occur each year, one in six is attributed to forklift accidents. This equipment has higher fatalities than chippers, drilling machines, backhoes and cranes in the U.S. There are more than 100 fatal accidents and 110,000 forklift accidents per year. Approximately 90 percent of forklifts will at some point in its life be involved in an accident, with 11 percent having an accident each year.

According to Occupational Health & Safety, 42 percent of the accidents leading to death include tipping of the vehicle, leading to the operator being crushed. Using a seat belt, one of the simplest safety measures to follow, plays a large role in protecting the driver. It is also important that forklift operators understand some key aspects of operating one of these vehicles, especially the stability triangle, load center and center of gravity to avoid tipping. Site-specific training and following Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines also help to prevent forklift accidents.

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