Who Is Responsible For Forklift Accidents At A Workplace?
It’s the worst-case scenario for any company with forklift drivers – one of your drivers is involved in an accident.
Keep in mind this happens more often than you’d think – in fact, there are usually anywhere from 60,000 – 80,000 incidents involving forklifts every year. After the safety of employees, the next issue is: who is responsible if a forklift accident occurs? Let’s take a look!
You’ve Had a Forklift Accident at Work – Now What?
Thousands of forklift accidents happen at work every year. But not everyone is certain what to do in the event of a forklift accident.
After all, employers are ultimately responsible for certification and training of their employees. However, that doesn’t mean that the employer is always at fault for a forklift accident at work. Even well-trained operators make mistakes; it’s up to OSHA investigators to ultimately determine who is responsible if a forklift accident occurs.
So… you’ve had a forklift accident at work. When looking at who is responsible if a forklift accident occurs, there are many factors involved. Let’s take a look at the different scenarios involved:
✓ Employee is not injured. The forklift accident at work requires an incident report right away. The employee should be questioned on the “who, what, when, where” of the situation. This information is not only helpful to determine who is at fault, as it’s useful to avoid similar accidents from happening in the future.
✓ Employee is injured. Depending on the state you live in, your employee should be immediately treated for injuries and taken to the hospital, if required. Once the medical situation has stabilized, you’ll have to fill out a workers compensation form, which vary from state to state. Along with any state-mandated compensation forms, it’s also important to complete an official OSHA Employee’s Report of Injury Form. These forms are used as evidence to decide who is responsible if a forklift accident occurs.
After the accident, OSHA will investigate to determine fault. Basically, it all boils down to whether or not the employer provided proper training and instruction to safely operate the equipment.
- Example A: the employer has all training records and is shown to be an OSHA compliant facility; all training and certification is properly accounted for. In this case, the employer is NOT RESPONSIBLE for the forklift accident at work.
- Example B: the OSHA audit shows serious gaps in training and certification. In fact, the forklift driver wasn’t thoroughly trained to OSHA compliance standards. This is bad news for the employer since they are 100% RESPONSIBLE for the forklift accident.
Obviously, a properly maintained workplace matters when determining who is responsible if a forklift accident occurs. That said, always ensure your warehouse or workplace has:
- Proper lighting
- Regular cleaning – debris on floors is a major cause of forklift accidents
- Clearly marked aisle signs and safety warnings
- A solid maintenance plan for your forklift fleet
- A thorough understanding of your equipment’s operating procedures
- OSHA approved training & certification (the most important thing)
The Bottom Line
Above all else, the question of who is responsible if a forklift accident occurs comes down to training & certification. That’s why it’s so important to ensure your company is OSHA compliant with forklift certification. It’s a win-win for everyone – your employees will enjoy a safe environment, and you’re covered in the case of an accident.
We specialize in getting companies up to speed with safety & compliance. Sign up with FLC today – we have the following three certification options available:
- Train a Trainer – if you had your own safety expert on hand at all times, life would be easier – and safer! Boost your safety today for only $149 and sign up for our Train a Trainer course!
- Training Kit – this option helps you avoid questions like, who is responsible if a forklift accident occurs or who was responsible for that forklift accident at work? Decrease your chances of accidents with our Training Kit – yours for only $299.
- Bundle Package – why settle for one when you can get both our Train a Trainer course and the Training Kit for an exclusive discount of $399? Try the Bundle Package today!
Register your company today and ensure your company is not held liable for accidents or injuries. FLC is here to help today!