The 37-year-old driver of a forklift suffered severe burn injuries on November 3, 2008 after he accidentally backed into a gas main and causing an explosion, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. The man, who has not yet been identified, was delivering supplies to a business in the 500 block of North Howard Avenue in Covina when the 11/3/08 accident occurred. The forklift driver suffered second-degree burns to his arms and legs. He is expected to survive.
Los Angeles fire officials said the worker was very lucky to survive this horrific accident. They are right – this accident could have been a lot worse. I wish this worker the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), forklifts cause about 85 fatal accidents each year and about 34,900 forklift accidents result in serious injury. Industrial Truck Association statistics show that there are about 855,900 forklifts in the United States. This means more than 11 percent of all forklifts will be involved in some type of accident each year.
According to OSHA, a majority of forklift accidents and fatalities can easily be prevented with better training. Not all workers start with the innate knowledge, skills and abilities needed to safely operate a forklift. OSHA requires that drivers must be properly trained to do so. Training is also said to reduce the severity of an accident related to the stability of a lift truck traveling with an elevated load. The lesson that many employers fail to learn from such catastrophic accidents is that operating a forklift without proper training is dangerous and can be fatal to their employees.
In this particular Covina forklift accident, the driver backed into a gas main. There are many questions that need to be answered. Did the forklift driver receive prior information that there was a gas main at that location? Did he lose control of the vehicle because of a product defect or a mechanical malfunction? Did the accident occur because of a lack of adequate training?
The injured worker will very likely receive worker’s compensation benefits for the severe injuries he suffered on the job. But worker’s compensation benefits in the State of California are so inadequate to compensate for this worker’s serious injuries and loss of wages. This worker should get in touch with a reputed California worker’s compensation attorney with experience in filing third party claims. These claims are usually filed against a third party who could be held liable for the accident. Third party claims are worth 20 times more than what an injured worker’s family would normally get from worker’s compensation benefits.