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May 9th, 2014

Forklift Accidents in Wisconsin’s Manufacturing Industries

Forklifts are commonly used across many different industries, from food production and construction to various types of manufacturing (metals, machinery, transportation equipment, etc.). However, forklifts are one of the most dangerous pieces of workplace equipment and account for literally hundreds of injuries each year. In fact, according to the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA), forklifts consistently make various top ten lists with respect to fatal work accidents, OSHA violations, etc.

Forklift Use in Wisconsin’s Manufacturing Industries

Forklifts are crucial to a wide variety of industries. Put simply, forklifts provide a means to load and unload heavy objects. Whether it’s a traditional forklift or a forklift with a special attachment, forklifts can lift and transport literally thousands of pounds of goods.

Forklifts are used widely in the paper production and machinery/metals manufacturing industries, especially forklifts with specific attachments like positioners, sideshifters, platforms, pallet handlers, telescopic forks, and roll clamps.

For instance, large paper rolls are typically moved around on forklifts with roll clamps. This however, creates a risk of tip overs and strike accidents. A worker walking near a forklift at a paper manufacturing-production factory may be struck by a forklift and dragged. The injuries may be fatal, and if not fatal, usually involve major crush injuries.

Related: Forklift Strike Accidents, Just as Common as Forklift Accident Deaths

Number of Fatal Work Accidents Involving Contact with Equipment in Wisconsin (2008-2012)

According to the most recent data from the Wisconsin government and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, each year, over 20 workers die from accidents that involve coming into contact with equipment (i.e., a forklift). These contact accidents often involve tip over accidents, strike accidents, run over accidents, etc.

In a common forklift strike accident case, a forklift driver operates a forklift with a load that affects the driver’s ability to see. As a result, the driver strikes a bystander, a worker who happens to be walking nearby.

Wisconsin Fatal Accidents Caused by Contact with Object/Equipment

Year Total Number of Fatal Work Accidents
2012 26
2011 22
2010 26
2009 21
2008 18
Average 22.6

*Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Related: Equipment Accidents on Construction Sites & OSHA

Forklift Accident Prevention in Wisconsin – Following OSHA Forklift Training Standards

At a minimum, employers in Wisconsin, especially in the paper and machinery manufacturing industries, can prevent forklift work accidents by providing proper training for all forklift operators. In fact, improper forklift operation training is probably the number one reason why forklift accidents occur.

OSHA provides very specific rules and regulations about how and when forklifts may be used. These regulations outline mandatory training requirements that include initial training and refresher training. However, employers should also go above and beyond the minimum OSHA forklift training requirements and provide consistent hands-on training and coaching.

More: Injured in a Forklift Accident? Why You Need to Talk to a Forklift Accident Lawyer

Forklift Accident Law Firm

Our forklift accident lawyers are licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois and West Virginia, and also accept matters in other states on a case by case basis. If you would like a free case assessment, please call Click To Call. Our lawyers may handle your case by obtaining special admission in your state or may work with local counsel in your area.

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