Forklift Accident Statistics in 2023 (& The Humans Behind Them)

December 16, 2023

3 min read

Forklift accidents not only result in costly damages to property but more importantly, they have devastating impacts on people’s lives across the globe. In this article, we attempt to understand the problem through data, while also taking a look at some of the people who have been affected by forklift accidents in the workplace. 

Key Forklift Accident Statistics

There are around 35,000 to 62,000 injuries every year related to forklifts (OSHA)

On average, there are 87 deaths per year due to forklift accidents. 

Roughly 1% of forklift accidents result in death 

Approximately 42% of all fatal forklift accidents involve being crushed by the vehicle when it’s tipping over. 

36% of forklift fatalities involve pedestrians. (OSHA)

Forklift accidents in a warehouse account for 30% of all forklift accidents. (HSE)

Manufacturing is the most common industry for forklift fatalities (42.50%), followed by Construction (23.80%)

Approximately 11% of forklifts are involved in some kind of accident each year. There are 855,900 forklifts in the US alone (Industrial Truck Association)

25% of workplace transport injuries are the direct result of forklift truck accidents (

Forklift Accident Causes & Prevention

Roughly 25% of forklift injuries are a result of forklift overturning, making it the most common type of forklift accident. 

Other types include: 

  • Pedestrian impacts 
  • Falling loads
  • Truck falling off a dock or trailer
  • Personnel falling from forks
  • Blocked sight
  • Mechanical failures
  • Emissions Poisoning 
  • Crushed by forklift

70% of forklift injuries could be avoided with better training policies (OSHA)

Workers who work 12-hour shifts are 37% more at risk of injury (OSHA) 

Forklift Operators with proper training improve their performance scores by more than 60%

The Cost of Forklift Accidents

The average cost of workers’ compensation claims is $41,003 USD

The average cost per OSHA safety violation is $13,494 USD

11% of all Forklift accidents Involve a worker being crushed by a forklift (OSHA)

The Humans Behind the Data

Anthony Watson, Nottingham (United Kingdom), 11 July 2022

anthony watson

Anthony Watson pictured at the pub

Anthony Watson, a British warehouse operative, raised his mast in order to place a row of flooring onto a shelf. Moments later, something caused him to topple. Anthony jumped out of the vehicle but tragically the forklift ended up on top of him, crushing him to death. 

An inquest subsequently found the raised mast of the forklift struck the beam of the doorway, causing the vehicle to topple. 

“Tony was fully trained at the time of the accident, however, the training was not followed by the driver and his failure to not follow the safe system of work, contributed to his death,” the inquest reported. 

“It still doesn’t feel real yet. In our family, we’re all trying to stay strong for each other. We were best friends, we did everything together. He absolutely loved going to the pub and watching football.” said Luke Watson, Anthony’s son. 

Lisa Ramos, Derby (United Kingdom), 24 March 2006

lisa ramos

Lisa Ramos and David Garton (source)

On the  24th March 2006, Lisa was knocked over by a 2.5-tonne forklift truck at her workplace in Derby, United Kingdom. 

A few hours later, the surgeon amputated her foot. And a few hours after that, her leg. This incident left Lisa with a life-changing disability and crippling PTSD. 

15 years and 70,000 tablets later, she has finally come to terms with what happened to her. Today, she is a guest speaker at health and safety conferences and employer events. 

“It might sound daft but one of the things I miss the most since my accident is dancing. I used to love to dance the night away and I was always the first one on the dancefloor and the last to leave it. That carefree feeling of freedom and total abandonment is gone. Don’t get me wrong, I can still make it to the dance floor but these days I have to be carried there.”

You can read more about Lisa’s story here: Lisa’s Story ( > 

Loren Schauers, Montana (USA), July 2019

Loren and Sabia Schauers 

Loren Schauers with his wife, Sabia

Loren Schauers, 19, was driving a forklift truck on a bridge when he veered off and fell 50 feet. He subsequently became trapped under the 2-tonne vehicle, crushing his body. 

After medics rescued him, he made the decision to have half his body amputated in a procedure known as hemicorporectomy surgery. 

Defying the odds, he survived and is now married to his then-girlfriend, Sabia Reiche, 23, who is also his primary caregiver. 

“We want to travel the world first and then have some kids and teach them to be better people than we are, so a pretty simplistic life,” said Loren. “My best advice to anyone going through something like this is that you can’t focus on the things you can’t have and you must live your life to the fullest with what you do have.”

You can follow Loren and Sabia’s inspirational journey on their Instagram account

How can we limit the number of forklift accidents? 

Forklift accidents are a tragic inevitability, given the nature of operating heavy machinery combined with the scale of the industry. 

However, that is not to say we cannot aim to drastically reduce the number of forklift injuries and deaths. 

Our main takeaways here at Forkify are:

  • Ensure stringent forklift training for your operators, including regular refresher courses
  • Limit shifts to eight hours to avoid fatigue behind the wheel 
  • Foster a culture of safety in your workplace where employees feel comfortable voicing any concerns. 

To find out more on this topic, read our post 17 Must-Know Forklift Safety Tips to Avoid Disaster

Or if that was a bit too much, here are some forklift jokes to lift your mood.

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