Forklifts are common workplace tools for many industries, from construction sites to big box stores to refineries. While these powered industrial trucks are essential for many operations, they can also be extremely hazardous and are responsible for tens of thousands of workplace accidents every year in the U.S.

The Texas forklift accident attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris note that the common causes of injuries on the job include:

  • Failure to pay attention to weight and symmetry of load
  • Driving at unsafe speeds
  • Operating on dangerous surfaces
  • Improper tire inflation
  • Dangerous operator behavior

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, many forklift-related accidents are related to failures to follow OSHA procedures and manufacturer guidelines. Texas law requires that employers provide safe working conditions for their employees, which includes preventing the improper or reckless use of industrial equipment and providing adequate training and certification to workers.

Here are some safety guidelines that can help prevent forklift accidents on the job site:

  • Do not allow unauthorized operation: Special training specific to each workplace and each type of forklift is necessary for safe and prudent operation. Workers should not be allowed to operate this equipment without that training.
  • Watch the load: The forklift should be safely and securely loaded. When the vehicle is in motion the load should be carried as close to the ground as possible. When the load is being raised or lowered, it can be extremely hazardous to anyone nearby if it falls. Operators and nearby workers should be instructed to steer clear of the load to avoid injury.
  • Use the right equipment: Not all forklifts are the same. Where it will be used, what terrain it will be operated on, and even what types of load it will carry should be considered when choosing the best powered industrial truck for a particular workplace.
  • Inspection and maintenance: Employers should establish vehicle inspection and maintenance procedures and ensure that they are followed to keep the equipment in top working condition.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a forklift or powered industrial truck on a job site, contact Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with one of our Texas forklift injury attorneys in Houston, Texas.