Industrial and equipment accidents are serious and can result in severe injuries or even death. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2011 to 2017, over 600 workers were killed in forklift accidents in the United States and over 7,000 workers experienced nonfatal forklift injuries with days away from work every year. Forklift accidents only account for approximately 1% of all warehouse or factory accidents. Unfortunately, due to the dangerous nature of the equipment, forklift incidents are responsible for 11% of all physical injuries in warehouse or factory accidents.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that more stringent training policies could prevent approximately 70% of forklift accidents in the United States. OSHA also projects that in total, between 35,000 and 62,000 forklift injuries occur each year. Concerningly, it is estimated that 36% of forklift-related deaths are pedestrians. Forklifts are so dangerous in part due to how they are deployed and in part due to how they are constructed. Loads are often carried in front of a forklift, blocking the driver’s view, increasing the chances of an accident. Forklifts are often used to raise heavy loads to considerable heights, resulting in dangerous circumstances. Forklifts also turn using rear wheels, increasing the chances of tipping over during tight turns. Additionally, forklifts can weigh up to 9,000 pounds and reach speeds of 18 miles per hour, making any forklift crash a serious collision. Lastly, forklifts only have breaks on their front wheels, making it harder to stop quickly and safely. A recent news article discussed a fatal forklift accident in Daytona Beach.
According to the news report, the accident happened on Monday, February 13, when a forklift operator moving materials from a truck ran over a woman in her 60s. The worker was part of a team working to repair a building that was damaged in Hurricane Ian. The Public Safety Director, Michael Fowler, stated that the worker did not see the pedestrian past the construction materials, causing him to hit her. According to the article, the driver was navigating using the space between two loads and never saw the pedestrian before hitting her. The woman was killed by the impact. The death has been classified as an industrial incident and will be investigated by the Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.