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Lansing Woman’s Forklift Injury Shines Light on Workplace Accidents

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Lansing Woman Struck By Forklift, Injured After Being Pinned Beneath

A 60-year-old woman from Lansing was recently hit by a forklift – and then pinned beneath the heavy equipment – while at her job at SA Automotive in Webberville. Another worker, a 57-year-old man, had been operating the forklift in reverse when the Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) struck the woman. Forklifts are a type of PIT and unique in that they are steered from the rear axle rather than from the front axle, at times making them difficult to operate.

Paramedics and firefighters from the Northeastern Ingham Emergency Services Authority and Leroy Township firefighters helped rescue the woman. She was taken to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing with serious injuries. Thankfully, her injuries were not considered life-threatening and she is expected to recover.

Operating any work vehicle can quickly become hazardous if the lack of training is present, say officials from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). MIOSHA will likely review this case and start a formal workplace investigation.

Lack of Training Causes Most Forklift Injuries and Fatalities 

A forklift, such as the one involved in this accident, is just one type of heavy equipment used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack, or tier material at hundreds of Michigan worksites each day, critical to the livelihood of many industries. Operators of these vehicles have the same rules and responsibilities to follow, similar to when driving a car on the road.

For example, Michigan employees must receive training for each type of PIT they will be operating. Because conditions are different from workplace to workplace, MIOSHA requires the training to be site-specific. Trainings must include a review of the conditions under which the vehicle will be operated like surface conditions, ramps and slopes, hazardous locations, visibility, and pedestrian traffic. All training programs must be documented and employees must be tested before being issued a permit. This training must also include the use of any attachment like manlifts and drum accessories.

The Importance of Report and Review

Employees should immediately report all accidents and near misses involving forklifts and other PITs. Any personal injury, damage to machines, buildings, or materials should be filed in a report. Drivers who have been observed operating a work vehicle in an unsafe manner or involved in an accident (or near-miss incident) should be reported and reviewed.

All employees have a right to a safe workplace. If an employee feels unsafe at work, they should contact MIOSHA, who may be able to help in two ways:

1) They can inspect a workplace or;
2) They can provide training or information aimed at minimizing risk and serious injury.

Workers who speak a language other than English have a right to receive such info or training in a language they understand.

Employers must also provide key safety information about the workplace, including copies of any standards, rules, regulations, requirements, and results of hazard testing. Perhaps most importantly, a worker should never feel unable to or unsafe in reporting or discussing violations. Retaliation by an employer or other employees for speaking up is not allowed under the law. 

Michigan Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Lawsuit Attorneys 

If you’ve been injured in a Michigan forklift or worksite accident, the Lee Steinberg Law Firm can help you decide legal options to best represent a MIOSHA and OSHA case for you. We can help get you started with no upfront costs. In fact, we won’t charge you at all unless your case is settled or won. We’re on your side so call us today to discuss the possibility of a personal injury claim, 1-800-LEE-FREE.