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Too many workplace injuries and deaths are forklift-related

Forklift safety is a much-discussed subject in various industries. Not only are forklifts time-saving machines, they are also intended to prevent workplace injuries by doing the heavy lifting that can cause severe injuries to workers. Unfortunately, forklifts are not always used for their intended purpose, and basic safety regulations are often disregarded.

It is not uncommon for forklift accidents to cause severe injuries or worse. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 20,000 workers suffer serious injuries, and approximately 100 lose their lives every year. These numbers cover forklift-related work accidents nationwide, including in California. While there are multiple ways in which workers can be injured in forklift accidents, almost a quarter of the fatalities are caused by the machines overturning.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides a long list of things to do and things to avoid related to forklift safety. Ensuring that any forklift operator is properly trained is top of the list. The list also includes the employer's duty to ensure regular forklift maintenance to avoid any malfunctions. Other regulations involve speeding, working on slopes, overloading, transporting workers on the forks and more. Only by compliance with all the safety regulations can the numbers of forklift-related accidents be reduced.

California workers who have suffered workplace injuries may have to face high medical bills, and they may be unable to return to work for extended periods. Workplace accidents are never anticipated, and the financial impact can be crippling. Fortunately, injured workers can obtain some level of financial relief by pursuing workers' compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. Families who have lost loved ones in on-the-job accidents may be entitled to claim death benefits from the insurance system to assist with end-of-life expenses and lost income.

Source: fortcampbellcourier.com, "Forklift accidents claim nearly 100 lives yearly", Aug. 27, 2015

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