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Forklift Accidents and Injuries in the Workplace

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By: Attorney Truman Griffith

Forklifts, or powered industrial trucks, are used in a variety of industries in use at a trucking company's dock, a big-box store, such as Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot or even a local grocery store.

During my years of practice, I have handled numerous forklift injury cases that could have easily been prevented had simple safety steps been taken.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or OSHA, has implemented numerous regulations dedicated to the safe operation of forklifts and proper training of forklift drivers, as the two go hand-in-hand.

Rigorous study and training on the use of these dangerous machines is essential to protecting yourself and your co-workers while using a forklift. West Virginia. 

An unloaded forklift can weigh as much as 9,000 pounds, so any operational or training mistake can cause serious injury or death in a matter of seconds. A simple internet search will reveal the unfortunate figures about crushing deaths, amputations and other debilitating injuries that have resulted from forklift rollovers and forklifts falling from elevated platforms and docks.

So how do you protect yourself from being killed or injured by a forklift at work?

  • First, make sure that your employer has properly trained you to use the forklift before you attempt to use it on your own. 
  • Also, make sure that you are wearing the right type of personal protective equipment when operating the forklift. 

Even if it is not required by your employer, it is a great idea to wear steel-toed boots or shoes if you are working in the vicinity of a forklifts, as a forklift tire that rolls over your foot would crush it in an instant and could cause a lifelong disability.

Further, be aware of your surroundings and the capabilities of the machine you are operating. Operating the forklift too close to a dock-ledge or onto a flatbed truck with no side rails, overloading the forklift, driving the forklift into an unsecure trailer, exceeding safe speeds and transporting other workers on the forks of a forklift are all activities that can result in serious injury or death.

For a full list of Forklift regulations and safety regulations, visit:

If you suffer a forklift injury on the job in West Virginia, you may be covered by Worker's Compensation. However, if certain facts exist, you may also have a right to sue your employer under the West Virginia "deliberate intent" statute.

I have handled numerous forklift cases in the last few years that involved debilitating injuries. Call me or one of the other attorneys at Warner Law Offices if you have suffered a forklift injury or any workplace injury, so we can investigate your case. And remember to demand that you are properly trained on the use of forklifts and all powered industrial trucks, so that you and your coworkers can remain safe on the job.

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