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Unsafe forklift operations pose threats of workplace injuries

Forklifts are dangerous pieces of equipment of which the safety hazards are often disregarded. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the facility of the U.S. Postal Service Network Distribution Center in Iowa after unsafe forklift operations were reported. Inspectors determined that the employers failed to comply with safety regulations to prevent workplace injuries.

According to OSHA, workers were allowed to travel at unsafe speeds on forklifts with unstable loads. In many instances, operators of these powered industrial trucks were moving these unbalanced loads without a clear path and unable to see ahead. The manner in which forklifts are operated at this facility exposed forklift operators and other employees to struck-by and other hazards.

During the investigation, inspectors observed untrained workers loading forklifts with off-center loads. These unstable loads were then moved at speeds that did not allow negotiating turns without the loads shifting and rocking -- and often tipping off the machines. The Iowa facility is part of the highly mechanized system of national automated mail processing involving large numbers of workers.

Any Iowa worker who is suffering the consequences of workplace injuries may find comfort in knowing that financial assistance is available. Medical expenses after an on-the-job accident can be overwhelming, especially if the worker is unable to return to work for some time. Benefits claims may be filed with the workers' compensation insurance system at the state or federal level, as applicable. All the medical expenses that were brought about by workplace injuries will be covered by the insurance program, along with a portion of the injured worker's lost wages.

Source: ehstoday.com, "OSHA: Iowa Postal Distribution Center Delivering Forklift Hazards", Sandy Smith, April 13, 2016

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