Forklift Truck Accident Claims
Over £90 million compensation recovered for our UK clients – Russell Worth Solicitors
Forklift truck accident claims are on the rise.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics show that forklift truck accidents are the highest cause of Workplace Transport Injuries (WPT) in the UK. In fact they account for 24% of the overall number of these types of accident at work – more than HGV’s and cars combined.
When we talk about forklift trucks it can be assumed that we include standing trucks and reach trucks, which are slight variations of the traditional machinery.
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Who is typically injured in these accidents?
Often it is not the driver of the forklift truck that gets injured. In fact 60% of injuries are inflicted on those who are working around the forklift truck. Sometimes these injuries can be extremely serious which is unsurprising- the vehicles are heavy and often with extremely restricted sight from the driver.
Typically we have found the reasons for forklift truck accidents can be traced back to either poor supervision or a lack of training. It is your employers’ responsibility to ensure that both of these are available to you if you are working on or around fork lift trucks. If they do not and an accident happens then they will almost certainly be liable for damages.
How do these accidents happen?
- Unstable / Unsuitable Ground – If the forklift truck is lifting or carrying a load at height then the vehicles centre of gravity is extremely high, making the truck unstable. If the ground is sloping or has divots or potholes then this can lead to the vehicle toppling over.
- Push throughs – This is typically where the forklift driver is trying to take something from one side of some warehouse racking for example and it pushes objects off the other side, which could fall on and injure people walking beneath.
- Reckless Driving – collisions are not uncommon in fast pace distribution centres or warehouses when drivers are not paying due care or attention. This can often lead to forklift trucks colliding and again, some quite serious injuries.
- Unstable load – sometimes the load of the forklift can fall on people causing severe and sometimes fatal injuries.
- Pedestrian run-overs – most forklifts are rear wheel steer which means they move in a way that is different to most vehicles. This can confuse some people resulting in them getting their foot or worse run over. Other times pedestrians or people working close by may get squashed between the load and another object.
- Step Offs – the driver may hurt him/herself getting down from the forklift if the ground they are transitioning to is unstable, with potholes or other objects.
- Collisions – a forklift may knock over an object on site, which could in turn fall onto a passer by or someone walking in the vicinity.
Preventing forklift truck accidents
Unfortunately we do see a large number of people who have been injured in accidents of this nature due to the actions of someone who is not properly trained or supervised to operate a forklift truck.
It is the employers duty to need to ensure the safety of all employees whilst on site which includes training to the correct standard, provision of hard hats, high visibility jackets, safety boots and maintenance on the forklift truck to be carried out to ensure the safe working of the vehicle.
Employers should ensure adequate separation of pedestrianized areas and forklift operational areas with barriers to partition the two. Entrances and exits of pedestrianized areas should be gated to ensure people do not walk out in front of forklifts. Forklift trucks should always give way to pedestrians!
If you or someone you know have been involved in an accident that involved a forklift, standing or reach truck, you/they may be able to make a compensation claim.