Freight shipping employees in Illinois operate tens of thousands of forklifts every day. According to a recent report released by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a well-known shipping company exposed workers to dangerously malfunctioning or defective forklifts in 11 different facilities. These malfunctions can lead to death or severe injury, as a injured worker attorney in Chicago knows.
OSHA investigation leads to discovery of unsafe forklifts
Central Transport, a major American shipping company, operates more than 170 terminals with a large volume of freight. A series of complaints since 2006 led OSHA authorities to inspect a number of these terminals. The ongoing investigation has uncovered serious breaches in safety. If Central Transport does not comply with OSHA standards and does not remove defective forklifts from service, the company faces substantial financial penalties and a possible operations freeze.
Hazards of defective forklifts
Driving a forklift is a dangerous job even when the equipment is well maintained and in good shape. A injured worker attorney in Chicago is aware that a defective forklift in a shipping or warehousing facility can cause any of the following lethal situations:
- Uncontrollable movement of the forklift
- Sudden drops from a height
- Emission of explosive fumes
- Electrocution hazards
- Crushing, pinching or pinning hazards
Workers must be aware of the condition of their machinery to avoid these issues.
How to identify a defective forklift
According to current OSHA statistics, more than 34,000 workers suffer serious injuries associated with forklifts every year. It is important to be proactive on the job and look for signs of possible malfunctions while driving a forklift. Workers must examine their vehicles daily before starting work. Pre-operation checks should include looking for cracks and leaks, checking hydraulic fluid and oil, inspecting tires for gouges or cuts, testing forks for load bearing, checking finger guards and making sure the operator area is free of debris or grease. If the forklift fails any of these inspections, it is defective and must be kept out of use until it is repaired.
What do to if a forklift is defective
After removing the damaged vehicle from service, the employee should report the malfunction immediately to a supervisor. OSHA regulations require the company to record all problems with forklifts in a centralized log for future consultation.
If you have been hurt at work, you have options. You may wish to consider discussing your problem with an injured worker attorney in Chicago.