Forklifts are powerful pieces of machinery that must be maintained properly. When in good working order and inspected correctly, forklifts should pose minimal risk to the operator and those in the vicinity.
However, when operators and managers skip inspections, the risk for serious injury—and even death—is greatly heightened.
Inspections not only help ensure that a forklift is in proper working condition, but they are also a requirement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Read on to learn more about what can go wrong with forklifts when businesses fail to submit to regular inspections.
Possible Forklift Defects
Forklift accidents commonly happen in warehouses or other industrial settings. While these machines allow workers to move heavy loads easily, accomplishing tasks that would otherwise require a large team, these vehicles require a good deal of maintenance and attention.
Forklifts, like any other vehicle, experience wear and tear and a wide variety of issues. Some common forklift defects that operators may experience include:
- Overheating of the engine caused by a broken radiator or a radiator blockage
- Worn-out or defective tire treads (often caused by excessive wear)
- Faulty steering wheel caused by low levels of steering wheel fluid transmission or worn-out gears
- Hydraulic system malfunctioning problems that subsequently cause mast or lift issues
- Electrical problems due to corrosion
- Brake malfunctions
- Chain problems
Many other possible defects and problems can affect forklift performance and operation. Other types of issues are more so due to user error, such as driver distraction, environmental hazards, or loading too much weight on the forklift.
Many forklift accidents caused by defects could have been prevented if the inspection had been completed. It’s critical that operators and facility managers implement the right safety procedures and inspect these machines thoroughly and according to the standards set forth by OSHA.
Consequences of Skipping a Forklift Inspection
Skipping even just a single forklift inspection has consequences. Regardless of how busy the day gets, it is under no circumstances worth it to cut corners and skip the inspection.
OSHA Violation Fines
OSHA requires workplaces to maintain safe and secured conditions for workers. Workplaces that violate OSHA requirements, including skipping a forklift inspection, can be fined thousands of dollars.
Cost of Forklift Repairs or Replacement
It’s no secret that regularly scheduled preventative maintenance will save you money in the long run. For this reason, it’s significantly less expensive to keep up with maintenance and conduct regular inspections on forklifts to catch any existing or potential defects.
If managers and operators conduct proper forklift inspections and maintenance care, they can avoid having to potentially replace these costly vehicles.
Loss of Productivity, Time, and Profits
Routine inspections often get skipped to save time. However, in the long run, skipping an inspection can end up costing the business time and money. A defective forklift could result in loss of time, inventory damage, and ultimately hurt a company’s bottom line. One skipped inspection could lead to serious financial problems, especially for small businesses.
Serious Accidents and Injuries
The worst consequence of skipping a forklift inspection is the potential harm to human life. Using a defective or damaged forklift greatly increases the likelihood of an accident and injuries. Both the driver and other employees in the area could be at great risk.
According to OSHA, over 70% of workplace accidents could have been avoided with proper training and implementation of safety procedures. This includes routine forklift inspections. Common forklift accidents include when workers get struck, pinned, or crushed by forklifts, falling from a forklift, and when a forklift overturns.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), nearly 100 workers suffer fatal injuries from forklift accidents every year. Another 20,000 people are seriously injured from forklift accidents as well.
Many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented if the operator was using the forklift correctly and if the forklift had been properly maintained.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today
The bottom line is that forklifts must be inspected for defects. Failure to do so results in costly injuries and fines. Have you been injured in a forklift-related accident? If so, it’s critical that you speak with a legal representative who can inform you of your rights.
At Langdon & Emison, we pride ourselves on always putting the victim’s needs first. Schedule a risk-free case evaluation with our team; we can learn more about your case, answer your questions, and advise you of all of your options. We look forward to speaking with you.