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Forklifts can be hazards on a job site

Construction sites in Manhattan are hives of activity. But they can also be danger zones, especially when an employer does not insist on safety protocols being strictly followed.

One such hazard is forklifts. Annually, powered industrial trucks injure roughly 95,000 workers and are responsible for 100 worker deaths; forklifts account for a good portion of these injuries and deaths due to turnovers during operation.

To reduce the likelihood of injuries on the job, employers must be proactive about safety. Below are some tips for safer workplaces when forklifts are in use.

-- Never allow employees younger than 18 to operate forklifts.

-- Make sure that all operators are properly trained and certified in the safe use of the machines.

-- Keep forklifts regularly maintained, with the tires inflated properly.

-- Have operators do a visual inspection before using to make sure no defects are present.

-- Operators shouldn't go faster than 5 mph and should go even slower when surfaces are slippery or the area is congested.

-- Insist that safe operating policies are observed at all times.

-- Never let workers lift loads that exceed the capacity of the machine.

-- If there is a mechanical or other problem with a forklift, it should be taken out of service.

-- The back-up alarm should always be in working order and audible over the noise level.

-- Don't travel with elevated loads.

-- Insist operators wear seat belts on forklifts.

-- Make sure rollover protective structures are in place.

Accidents happen frequently on job sites when safety isn't paramount. If you get injured while on the job, you can pursue a claim for compensation through worker's compensation or civil litigation.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Forklifts," accessed Jan. 22, 2016

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