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Are forklifts potentially dangerous?

Forklifts come in a variety of sizes, but generally they are one of the smaller pieces of industrial equipment. This does not mean that forklifts can't be dangerous, however.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, approximately 50 workers are seriously injured in the United States each day from mishaps involving forklifts. Furthermore, the agency states that every fourth day, somewhere in America a worker is killed in an accident with a forklift.

Below are some tips for safer use of forklifts in industrial settings.

-- Never allow anyone who is not licensed and trained to operate a forklift.

-- When an operator's vision is restricted, and at every corner and intersection, slow down, sound the horn and stop.

-- Always use all warning equipment, e.g., back-up alarms, horns and lights.

-- With blind spots, make sure there is a spotter on hand.

-- Don't proceed unless you are able to see the route ahead.

-- Never use a cellphone for texting or talking while operating a forklift.

-- If you are driving a forklift and encounter pedestrians, attempt eye contact to make sure that they are aware you are in or near their path.

Industrial sites are potential danger spots when workers get distracted or fail to follow safety guidelines. Everyone has a duty to make their workplace as safe as possible for all.

Those who have been injured on the job in an accident involving heavy machinery may face months of recuperation and mountains of medical bills. If the injuries are especially severe, permanent damage may result that precludes ever working again. Filing for workers' compensation may be necessary in order to remain financially solvent.

Source: Transportation Safety Apparel, "Forklifts Can Be Dangerous!," accessed May. 07, 2015

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