When it comes to operating heavy machinery, if asked which are the most dangerous, it is likely construction workers would respond that cranes are probably the most likely to cause death or serious injuries to those operating these huge pieces of machinery.
While there is no doubt that cranes are indeed quite dangerous — especially to unskilled operators — few who labor in the construction industry would name forklifts as being of particular danger to their operators. However, as the following case in a western state will illustrate, they can indeed pose significant risks to those at the controls.
Forklift responsible for man’s hemicorporectomy
Most people have never heard of a hemicorporectomy — and that is understandable because it is probably the most extreme type of surgery that is survivable. In the aforementioned incident, an 18-year-old forklift operator was moving the equipment across a bridge that was operational with traffic. When one vehicle veered too close to the forklift, its operator moved closer to the bridge’s edge.
This caused him and the machine to topple off the bridge and fall 50 feet to the ground. The forklift came to rest on his right arm and lower power, pinning and crushing the young man underneath it.
A life-or-death choice
Doctors were not sure that his injuries were survivable. But they had one chance to offer him. A hemicorporectomy where the body is completely severed from just below the waist could offer him a chance of survival.
The teen chose life and fought hard in his struggle through the next few months. His family and girlfriend rallied by his side, and he made amazing progress with his recovery and adjustment to life with only half of his body.
Forklift injuries deserve compensation
Although most injuries from forklifts will not wreak as much damage as the brave young man endured, there is no doubt that they can inflict serious and life-altering injuries if an accident occurs. Those who get injured by forklifts on the job deserve compensation. Filing a workers’ comp claim is the beginning of the process.