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Why Forklift Overturn Accidents Happen

Why Forklift Overturn Accidents Happen

To the inexperienced person, forklift operation seems straightforward. However, avoiding a forklift accident is not obvious. Tipping a forklift over is as easy as turning a corner too quickly, or lifting an unstable load too high in the air. There are many ways that forklift accidents can happen, and therein lies the difficulty of their use.

Of the different types of forklift accidents, forklift overturns are the leading cause of fatalities. Operators who are thrown off or attempt to jump off an overturning forklift may suffer fatal crush injuries. How overturns happen is discussed next.

  • Cornering too quickly. The forklift’s small turn radius allows it to maneuver in tight aisles. However, when a tight turn is combined with speed, the result is a turnover accident. This happens to careless or overconfident operators who routinely ride their machine near its limit of safe operation.
  • Not centering the load. The forklift’s relatively narrow wheel base makes it susceptible to tipping over sideways when lifting un-centered loads high overhead and when turning. An un-centered load occurs when its center of gravity is offset sideways relative to the forklift’s center. A forklift can also tip over in a forward direction when a heavy load isn’t carried close to the vertical face of the forks.
  • Riding down a ramp facing forward. Riding forward down a ramp tilts the load forward and can cause the forklift to tip over in the forward direction. Another danger is that the load can slide forward along the forks. Always ride a forklift backward down a ramp.
  • Riding while carrying the load high. Carry loads as low as possible while transporting them. The higher the load, the more top-heavy the forklift. This makes the forklift more prone to tipping over on turns. If a load is too large to see where you are going, slowly ride backwards. Never carry the load high in an attempt to see beneath it.
  • One wheel goes off a ramp. This can happen when a distracted operator fails to keep the forklift centered on the ramp.
  • Riding sideways on a ramp or sloped surface. This tilts the load off to the side and makes the forklift unstable.

If you were injured in a forklift accident, the lawyers at Frekhtman & Associates can help you get the compensation you need for your recovery. Contact us today.

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