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An In-depth Analysis of Forklift Accidents at Work and Legal Remedies for Victims

Forklift truck accidents are pretty common across the UK. Often these cases are blotted out from the attention of media and legal fraternity as because the victims themselves do not take the initiative to file accident at work compensation claims. They fear of losing their jobs and facing other adverse consequences at their workplaces. Burial of these accident cases conceal the deeper and more alarming. These accidents are absolutely the upshots of personal and organizational negligence. As per HSE and FLTA reports, 400 people are injured each year in fork truck accidents with Yorkshire and West Midlands being the most accident prone zones in the UK. accident at workWorkplace accident claim cases, however, are diminutive compared to the ever-increasing number of fork truck accidents. It has been found that most of these accidents happen because of the negligence of employers, but regrettably, they evade the legal consequences.

Fork truck accidents contributing factors

So what are the contributing factors to these workplace accidents? Well, a number of causal factors are there. Firstly, the operators are not properly trained on how to drive these trucks properly. It is a surprising fact that many of the warehouse owners baselessly assume that these vehicles are easy to handle and anyone can operate it. This results in life-changing workplace accidents. Excessive work pressure and attempt to operate at an extreme speed calls forth many fork truck accidents. Many fork car accident claims are filed against employers who use old and improperly maintained fork trucks. Inappropriate assignment is also a prime reason.

Operational faults resulting in fork truck accidents

Due to lack of training, the fork truck operators often invite accidents by driving and operating these trucks improperly. Trained operators, on the other hand, rarely make mistakes while turning their vehicles. They also warn the people nearby when they turn or drive backwards their truck. Accident at work compensation claims are often filed by the coworkers of untrained operators. Most of these cases are filed because the claimants believe that the operator could drive the fork truck in a better and safer manner. Wrong parking and poor workplace communication call for many fork truck accidents. Some operators bring about accidents by unnecessarily stunting with the fork trucks. Keep in mind that if you are an injured worker eager to file a workplace accident forlift truck accidentcompensation claim against your employer, the solicitor would first investigate whether the accident happened solely because of your erratic driving and if it is proved, you will lose the claim.

Inadequate space is also a reason

It has been detected by the eminent fork car accident claims specialists that many of the truck accidents occur because of narrow passageways and over-crowded passageways are other reasons behind growing number of fork truck accidents. Stumbling blocks at turnings and entrances also cause accidents. Poor lighting is also a contributing factor. Therefore, the employers should ensure that their factory or workplace premises are suitable for operating these trucks. But disappointingly, the factory or warehouse owners fail to act in like manner or simply care not. It has been also evidently found that the workers are pressurized to take extra loads. Anyone who has decent knowledge about forklift trucks well know that these trucks come with certain load capacity and exceeding that limit bring on unwelcome consequences.

Mechanical failures as causal factors

It is the employer’s liability to ensure that the operators work with tested and well-maintained fork trucks. But their negligence is a prime causal element behind accident at work. It is also true that many operators do not report about faulty parts to concerned departments or individuals. Malfunction of various parts such as brakes, clutch, steering, and shift linkage are some of the many causal factors behind these office accidents. Leaks in hydraulic systems and poor control layout kick up many factory accidents. The factory accident claims that are filed are often awarded lump sum in compensation because of faulty and unmaintained fork truck parts and accessories.

How can a fork truck accident be avoided?

The employer should clearly define passageway for forklifts and walkway for other workers. Unnecessary entering the operating areas designated for the forklift trucks should be restricted. An accident at work compensation claim can be filed if it was found that the operating area was inadequately lit and obstructions were also there. The operator, in contrast, should be extra cautious when driving a fork truck through a narrow passageway or when the truck in close proximity to a blind corner. Sounding the horn is also imperative. High-visibility apparels should be given to forklift truck operators and other warehouse workers as well. The fork truck should always be driven slowly. In order to prevent accidents with pedestrians, the operator should avoid taking the truck to congested areas such as lunch rooms or entrances.

Legal compulsions for the warehouse owners

In most fork car accident claims cases, it was found that the employer did not adhere to the existing rules and regulations of the country. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 define clearly the roles and liabilities of the employers, employees as well as the contractors in UK. There are two other regulations made under the HSWA 1974 that are also described in brief here below along with the HSWA 1974.

  • Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974: The Section 1 of the HSWA 1974 defines the objectives of the law. The law was introduced to safeguard the health and safety of the workers. It is also aimed at protecting citizens from flammable, noxious and dangerous substances. The duties and responsibilities of the employers include preparation and protection of safe working environments in a ‘reasonably practicable’ manner. They also need to ensure that the workers safely handle and transport objects. Arranging necessary training for the workers falls under their liabilities.
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998: The LOLER 98 regulations lay it out that the workers who are deployed for lifting goods should be properly trained to forestall accident at work. The employer has to ensure that the equipments are properly checked and are not faulty in nature. Apart from the forklift trucks, the ropes, cranes, slings, eyebolts, shackles, pulley and rope systems should also be tested on a regular basis.
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998: According to PUWER 98 regulations, an employer needs to take adequate ‘hardware’ and ‘software’ measures. Protection contrivances, warning contrivances and personal protective outfits should be provide to the workers.  Software measures include implementing safe working practices etc. these measures should be taken by the employer himself. Adequate training and installing safety equipments is also imperative.

Steps to take following a forklift accident

It is widely advertised across the web that the forklift accident victims should first contact a car accident claims solicitor following an accident. But this is completely a wrong notion. The victim should first report the accident to the employer. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 Act which is commonly referred as RIDDOR makes it obligatory for the responsible persons (i.e. the employers in general) to report accidents such as a construction accident. Though the employees are not obligated to report their injuries but in Section 7 of the HSWA 1974, it is clearly mentioned that the employees should report their accidents to their employers first. It is therefore the responsibility of the employer to act in response.

Minimum requirements for filing a claim

A forklift accident at work generally results in severe consequences and the victim often loses many working days and gets admitted to hospital. But what are the minimum preconditions of filing a compensation claim for forklift truck accident and injuries? Just read on.

An employee who was admitted to hospital for more than 24 hours can file a work accident compensation claim. Since April 6th, 2012, forklift truck accident at worka new rule has come into effect that if an employee loses seven working days because of an office or factory accident, he can file a claim. Before that date, people who lost at least three working days could file accident compensation claims. All types of amputations, broken limbs and disablements are subject to filing compensation claims.

Making a compensation claim

In case you have met an accident at work in recent times and you presuppose that the accident happened because of your employer’s negligence, you can file a compensation claim against your employer. You should make your claim through a work accident solicitor. Generally speaking, your employer’s insurance agency is bound to pay the compensatory amount to you in case you win the case. You need to gather few documents and evidences in support of your work accident compensation claim. For example, you need the video recording that might have been captured by any Close Circuit TV nearby. The statements of the witnesses also largely matter. Your job is to persuade your coworkers or any other person who was present at the accident spot. The rest would be taken care of by the forklift car accident claims specialist whom you appoint.

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  2. UK Courts Taking Greater Leniency on Accident at Work Victims

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