September is the Deadliest Month of the Year for Fork Lift Accidents
Sometimes, the strangest patterns can emerge from life. A leading firm of personal injury compensation lawyers have been doing the numbers and have concluded that September is one of the deadliest months for those working with fork lift trucks as fork lift accidents are at their highest at this time of year. Their report has resulted in a warning being issued for everyone involved with fork lift trucks highlighting the dangers associated with this type of equipment, particularly during that first month back after the summer holidays.
Statistically, September is the 'deadliest' month for fork lift truck accidents, accounting for a considerable percentage of the accidents at work logged during this month. Most of these accidents occur when fork lift drivers or pedestrians in warehouses are distracted or simply assume that they have been seen by the other party. Most of these accidents are entirely avoidable and fork lift accidents often constitute legitimate grounds for a compensation claim for an accident at work. In respect of those that happen because of the failure of the employer to implement a safe working system where heavy machinery such as fork lifts are being used, or because of the negligence of a colleague, the injured party has a strong claim for personal injury compensation against the employer. The bottom line is that it is the employer, not the fork lift driver, who is responsible for providing a safe working environment, both for all employees and for any visitors to the site. They are ultimately responsible for the actions of their workforce.
Around 400 workers are seriously injured by fork lift accidents every year, with the most serious accidents resulting in around 10 fatalities annually. Many more suffer less serious injury but still have to take time off work to recover and receive treatment for their injuries. One of the most common injuries is crushing, which can have devastating consequences, even if the fork lift is travelling relatively slowly.
The consequences of a fork lift accident can result in the injured party having to take considerable time off work to recover from their injuries and this can obviously affect their ability to earn a wage, meet household bills and carry on a 'normal' life. More serious injuries can lead to a lifetime of intensive care and the loss of the ability to earn a living.
Health and Safety officials have long promoted the importance of vigilance when using heavy machinery in the workplace and are concerned at the number of accidents that still happen in the workplace every day. There has been a degree of success in their campaign to raise awareness about accidents at work, but there still seems to be a bit of a blase attitude when it comes to fork lift trucks. The opinion amongst many employers is that once the driver has his certificate, it is then his responsibility to drive the truck in a manner that will not cause injury or harm to other people. But the reality of everyday life in a busy warehouse puts pressure on drivers to operate their fork lifts in a less than safe manner to 'get the job done'. In a confined space like a warehouse, there's very little room for mistakes, particularly if the machine you're operating is heavy, fast and fitted with large prongs at the front. Any accident involving a fork lift is potentially life-threatening and if employers do not want to see more claims brought against them for accidents in the workplace, perhaps it is time to clamp down on the cavalier attitude that many drivers have towards safety. A hard hat is not going to protect you against a one ton machine travelling at 15mph loaded with crates.
Injury claims specialists believe that it is going to be a long time before accidents in the workplace are eradicated, if ever. Fortunately, workers injured by fork lift trucks or any other preventable situation in a working environment have some means of redress through injury compensation. But this does not excuse poor duty of care levels and a 'get the job done at all costs' attitude in an environment where dangerous machinery is operating. A shift in thinking has to take place, along with stricter enforcement on health and safety standards by the authorities. Perhaps then September will cease to be such a 'deadly month' for injuries at work.