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How can I avoid common forklift hazards?

As a Pennsylvania worker in the construction industry, you may find yourself operating a forklift regularly. While this equipment can be very useful, it can also pose quite a few risks, particularly when a piece of equipment fails or is used in an improper manner. Accordingly, being aware of common hazards and methods for avoiding them can help you prevent significant injuries from occurring.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists numerous hazards associated with forklift operation, some of which can result in debilitating injury or even death. For instance, you must have a clear range of vision as you operate a forklift. Obstructed visibility can have a number of very serious effects, from costly property damage to fatal crushing injuries occurring to you or other workers.

In this case, you must always look in the direction your forklift is driving, particularly when operating the equipment in reverse. You should also take caution by driving at a slower speed when approaching blind corners and making use of your horn to alert other workers to your presence. Additionally, equipment should be outfitted with the proper safety features, such as headlights to increase visibility on worksites lacking proper illumination.

Maintaining a safe speed can also help you avoid accidents in the workplace. Many incidents occur because a forklift operator is driving at an unsafe speed, including equipment tipovers that can cause serious physical injuries. Always operate the forklift at a speed that will allow you to stop safely, especially when traveling on grades. Also, unsafe work conditions (such as wet or slick floors) should be approached cautiously at a reduced speed.

If you experience an injury involving a forklift in your workplace, securing a workers’ compensation attorney is highly recommended. The right lawyer will provide legal options relevant to your claim and assist you in seeking compensation for your injuries. 

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