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Statistics Regarding Forklift Accidents 

Michael Agruss

Written and Reviewed by Michael Agruss

  • Managing Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer at Mike Agruss Law.
  • Over 20 years of experience in Personal Injury.
  • Over 8000+ consumer rights cases settled.
  • Graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law: Juris Doctor, 2004.

There are 855,900 forklifts in the United States, most often seen on construction sites and in warehouses and factory settings. It probably comes as no surprise that forklifts are a dangerous piece of machinery. While forklifts account for only 1% of workplace accidents, these accidents typically tend to be more serious, accounting for 10% of all physical injuries on the worksite. 

If you have been injured in a forklift accident, contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.

Why Forklifts Are So Dangerous 

There are a number of reasons why forklifts are a workplace hazard. These include:

  • Forklifts are heavy, weighing up to 9,000 pounds, which is three times heavier than most cars.
  • Forklifts can travel up to 18 miles per hour.
  • Forklifts only have front brakes, making them more difficult to stop.
  • Loads are carried on the front of the forklift which can obstruct the view of the driver.
  • Forklifts are used to lift heavy loads to considerable heights.
  • A forklift is turned by the rear wheels which can cause the rear of the machine to swing out, increasing the likelihood of tip-overs.
  • The rear of a forklift is heavier to compensate for the weight being carried in the front. This can make a forklift difficult to handle. 

Forklift Accident Statistics 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), each year there are 61,800 non-serious forklift accidents with 34,900 accidents resulting in serious injuries. Unfortunately, forklifts account for 85 fatal accidents annually. 

The types of forklift accidents commonly seen include:
  • Forklift crushing from a tip-over (42%)
  • Crushing between the forklift and a surface (25%)
  • Crushed between two forklifts (11%)
  • Struck or run over by a forklift (10%)
  • Struck by falling material (8%)
  • Fall from the platform of the forks (4%) 

Forklift Safety Checklist

OSHA states that 70% of forklift accidents could be avoided with proper training and policies in place. All forklift operators are required to be trained according to OSHA standards and should complete a daily inspection to ensure that the equipment is safe and functioning properly. 

This checklist should include:
  • Is the horn working?
  • Are there any leaks?
  • Are fuel connections tight?
  • Are battery terminals covered?
  • Is there anything on the forklift that could spark a fire, such as grease, oil, lint, or other materials?
  • Are there sparks or flames coming from the exhaust system?
  • Does the engine show any signs of overheating?
  • Are the tires inflated and in good condition?
  • Are controls working smoothly?
  • Are lights working?
  • Is the steering responsive?
  • Will the brakes stop smoothly and reliably?
  • Is the parking brake working?
  • If the forklift is equipped with seatbelts, are they functional and being used?
  • Is the load capacity plate readable?

It is a violation of Federal law for anyone under the age of 18 or anyone not trained and certified to operate a forklift. Any forklift operator that has been involved in a forklift accident, a near miss, or an evaluation that stems from unsafe operation of the forklift must be retrained and any time a forklift operator is assigned a new piece of equipment or a new working condition must also be trained under Federal OSHA requirements.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to negligence on the job site or a defective product, an experienced personal injury lawyer can review your claim and determine if there were unsafe working conditions, potential OSHA violations, and other hazards that may have existed at the time of your accident. They will also determine who may be liable for your injuries and damages and what compensation you may be entitled to.

We see you as a person, not just a client – and that makes us better at work we do. We listen. We learn your story. And, as we help you get the money you deserve, we go above and beyond in a way most law firms never could and never would. Because we’re not just lawyers. And you’re not just a client. We’re friends, neighbors, family. We’re all people and here at Mike Agruss Law, we put People, First.

Helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people, not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance adjusters, your medical bills, your property damage, and your lost wages, and monitor your treatment so you can focus on healing and getting your life back to normal. Our unique formula has earned us over 1,000 outstanding client reviews on our website, an A+ BBB rating, and over 135 five-star reviews on Google. Call 888-572-0176, e-mail us at [email protected] or schedule a meeting with us here. We’re here 24/7.

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