For many building, inventory and construction sites, heavy equipment is necessary for earth movement, aggregate transportation, excavation and site grading. Another type of heavy equipment is the forklift and related machinery known as powered industrial truck. These machines are vital for movement of construction materials and are particularly useful in loading and unloading operations for all types of materials and liquids.
As with any piece of heavy equipment, they must be used in a way that ensures the safety of the operator and of the persons and workers in and about the machines. Operators of forklifts, even ones with a lot of experience, can get fatigued and be distracted in operations. Safety training programs promote a culture of safety on the job and can prevent serious accidents. Operators have to be protected from injury on rollovers, so they are not thrown or crushed by the machine.
The US Department of Labor has promulgated recommendations and work practices for heavy equipment operation like forklifts. Some of the recommendations include that such vehicles only handle loads within the rated capacity of the truck; that loads be carried in a low position; that reverse travel be done with a clear view; that vehicles ascend and descend grades slowly; that the machines are not modified without manufacturer approval; that when left unattended, that load-engaging means are fully lowered, controls neutralized and power shut off and brakes are set; that they keep a safe distance from edges, including ramps and platforms; that dockboards and bridge plates are capable of withstanding the load imposed and properly secured.
Failure to follow safety recommendations and guidelines can result in serious injury or death. If you are injured by the unsafe use of a forklift or powered industrial truck, you should consult with your attorney to see if your injury could have been reasonably prevented by the use of safety recommendations, safety training or other safety systems.
If you are injured and cannot return to work, your claim will involve the loss of wages, the loss of any benefits you may have, the loss of future income, the current, past and future costs of medical care and your claim for pain and suffering from the injuries sustained. If the injury results in death of a loved one, you should see your attorney as soon as possible as there are time limits under which claims must be brought.
So, the best rule is see your attorney early and get all of the information you need.