Jay Gervasi, P.A. Attorney at Law
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Pedestrian safety and power industrial trucks

North Carolina workers are often walking around on foot in areas where forklifts, rider trucks, pallet trucks and lift trucks are being used. Therefore, pedestrian safety policies need to be taught to workers who operate these vehicles, in addition to on-foot workers who may be performing their job duties in and around them.

The problem is that pedestrian safety is often neglected in safety training programs. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the most common lift truck-caused fatalities involved pedestrians getting hit. The second most common cause of fatal lift truck accidents happens when they flip over.

In order to prevent lift truck accidents -- in addition to teaching employees to be safer while using them and working around them -- employers should clearly mark pathways where the lift trucks can be driven. They should keep these isles free of obstructions like carts and hand trucks. They should also identify slow-down areas, intersections, blind corners, dock areas and other dangerous areas -- like low lighting areas -- where accidents are likely to happen. Finally, employers need to make sure that only workers who have been trained in appropriate safety procedures be permitted to operate lift trucks.

Work-related accidents can happen in an unlimited variety of ways in North Carolina. Fortunately, most workers who have been injured on the job will be able to collect workers' compensation benefits to pay for medical care related to their injuries. Depending on the severity of injuries, and their resulting inability to work, injured workers may be able to receive wage replacement benefits as well.

Source: National Safety Council, "Fact Sheet No. 1: Ensuring pedestrian safety around power industrial trucks.," accessed Sep. 03, 2015

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