NOIRS 1997 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 1997. Washington, DC: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1997 Oct; :23
This research examines the circumstances of work-related injuries and fatalities involving powered industrial vehicles (PIVs), which include forklifts or other mobile power-driven vehicles used to carry, push, pull, lift, or stack material. Descriptive analyses were conducted on 946 PIV-related fatalities in the National Traumatic Occupational Fatality (NTOF) surveillance system from 1980 through 1993 and 916 incidents in 54 U.S. automobile manufacturing plants from July 1989 to June 1992. The NTOF surveillance system provides data from death certificates from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and New York City. Death Certificates are collected for persons 16 years of age and older who died of external causes and for whom the certifier indicated that the fatality was associated with an injury while on the job. The automotive surveillance system is run jointly by the medical and safety departments in the plant and includes information on employee characteristics, characteristics of the workplace and injury-producing event, and description of the injury. The three most common types of fatal incidents in the NTOF database involved PIV overturns (22%), pedestrian struck by PIV (20%), and decedent crushed by forklift (17%). The highest frequency of fatalities by industry division occurred in manufacturing (33%), transportation, communication and public utilities (16%), and construction (14%). The highest fatality rate by industry occurred in wholesale trade, mining, and agriculture/forestry/fishery. The highest forklift-related fatality rates by occupation occurred to laborers and transport operators. The 916 PIV-related incidents in the automotive surveillance system resulted in 913 injuries and three fatalities. Of the 913 injury incidents, 41% (372 of 913) of the injuries resulted in an employee missing work. The 372 lost workday incidents resulted in a total of 22,730 lost workdays, an average of 61 days away from work per lost workday incident. The three most common types of injury incidents in the automotive manufacturing surveillance system involved pedestrians being struck by PIVs (n=35%), PIV collisions with fixed objects/other PIVs (n=16%), and mounting/dismounting PIVs (15%). Recommendations are presented with regard to the factory environment, vehicle safety features, and driver and pedestrian training for reducing the risk of powered industrial vehicle incidents.