Forklifts are valuable pieces of equipment used to handle materials and products in various Arizona industries. Unfortunately, employers and workers often disregard the risks these machines pose. An uncertified forklift operator can cause a workplace accident in the blink of an eye — often with devastating consequences. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety standards to be enforced in facilities where lift trucks are used.
OSHA also provides safety guidelines that could prevent forklift-related injuries. These include the operator taking care when mounting or dismounting the machine, wearing non-slip shoes and making sure his or her hands are clean, dry and free of oil or other slippery substances. Operational and visual inspections before using a forklift are crucial, and ensuring that travel paths are clear of obstacles is vital. The operator must park the forklift in a spot that does not block a doorway or aisle, and engage the parking brake.
Strict speed control rules are essential, and extra care is necessary when negotiating turns. Changing direction typically requires the forklift first to be brought to a halt, and the operator must look in the travel direction, and have the forks lowered for turns and backing up. Workers on foot are also at risk of being struck, and safety plans should include them at all times. The operator must never carry passengers, engage in horseplay or stunt driving.
A victim of a forklift-related workplace accident in Arizona might be eligible for financial assistance through the state-regulated workers’ compensation insurance program. He or she can navigate the benefits claims with the support and guidance of experienced legal counsel. A lawyer can help with the pursuit of compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages.