Depending on the industry in which you work and your qualifications, you may find yourself regularly using a forklift. Even if you’re not the one operating the forklift, you could still be in close proximity to these vehicles.

There are many tips you can follow to maintain your safety when operating a forklift, with these five among the most important:

  • Inspect the forklift before use: Doing so allows you to pinpoint any defects or damage that could hinder your ability to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. If there’s a problem, mark the forklift as out of service and report it to your supervisor.
  • Wear your seat belt: Just the same as a motor vehicle, you should wear your seat belt at all times. Without a seat belt, a minor accident can turn into one that is much more serious.
  • Watch for hazards: For example, if you spot something on the floor ahead of you, don’t attempt to run it over. Instead, turn the vehicle off, dismount and remove the item from your path.
  • Know your load: In addition to safe and proper loading, it’s critical to understand how much weight your forklift can handle. Carrying an overweight or unstable load greatly increases the risk of an accident.
  • Don’t drive recklessly: There are many forms of reckless driving on a forklift, such as operating the vehicle in excess of the speed limit, ignoring safety signs and giving other workers a ride. If you do any of these things, you’re more likely to injure yourself and/or someone else.

If you’re injured in a forklift accident at work, you should first take the necessary steps to stabilize your health. From there, call 911 for help, if necessary, and report the accident to your supervisor.

Once you’re diagnosed and understand your prognosis, work with your medical team to follow a treatment plan for overcoming your injuries.

If your doctor suggests time away from the job to heal, file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. In the event that you’re completely disabled, you need to protect your legal rights by seeking compensation related to your permanent injury.

Visit our website for additional information on how to file a workers’ compensation claim in Wisconsin.