Employer’s Guide to Forklift Liability in the Workplace

Use Forklifts at Work? Here’s What You Should Know

Whether you work in storage, manufacturing, construction, or otherwise, there is a good chance that your facility uses a forklift to move and lift heavy pallets and objects. As an employer, you should know about forklift liability in order to protect your workers. Read on for more information.

OSHA Regulations

A forklift, or Powered Industrial Truck (PIT), can be very useful in many industries. OSHA defines a PIT as “any mobile power-propelled truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack or tier materials.” Most people think of PITs as forklifts.  Though forklifts come in many shapes and sizes, they are all regulated under OSHA’s PIT standard. Even so, forklifts present many risks in the workplace, from injury to fatality. To address these hazards, OSHA set out a comprehensive set of standards for training, maintenance, and operation of forklifts.

Who’s Liable If There’s an Accident?

Accidents can happen. Some accidents may be slight and negligible, but some are unfortunate events involving fatalities. If someone gets injured from operating the forklift or not, it’s important the supervisor knows at once. From here, an accident report can be created and details can be taken down of what exactly happened.

But, who’s liable? If the employer conformed to laws and regulations, then they are not liable. OSHA and employers are aware of the fact that accidents will happen, and the primary goal is to reduce risk and injury. An OSHA inspector can visit the site for inspection to establish the facts of the report after a serious accident. They will then search the company’s safety training record, inspect the accident site, and interview other works involved.

If the employer did not provide adequate training, then yes, they are likely to held liable. OSHA is very specific about maintaining standards of training, and make it clear that it is the employer’s responsibility to provide forklift operators with the training they need. If no training has been provided, then the employee can file charges.

Forklifts present useful solutions in your workplace, but come with unique risks. Make sure to stay in accordance to the OSHA and maintain reliable insurance that provides a safety net. To sufficiently protect your workplace and employees, make sure you have the proper Workers’ Compensation insurance in place. For assistance with your workers comp coverage needs, contact the professionals at Artisan Insurance Solutions today.

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