If you have a forklift operator’s certificate, you have made a smart career decision. While your forklift abilities make you eligible for many different jobs, they may also put you at risk of sustaining a potentially life-altering injury. 

Many injured forklift operators qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Still, by understanding your injury exposure, you may be able to avoid an injury altogether. Here are four injuries that often plague forklift operators. 

1. Neck and back injuries

Sitting for hours on a forklift exposes you to a variety of chronic neck and back injuries. You may also develop whiplash after a forklift-related accident. 

2. Broken bones

The average forklift weighs more than 9,000 pounds. Consequently, if the forklift drives over part of your body or traps you against another object, you may sustain broken or crushed bones. 

3. Spinal cord damage

Your spinal cord delivers neurological signals from your brain to the rest of your body. In a serious forklift crash, you may tear, bruise or otherwise damage your spinal cord. Regrettably, with spinal cord injuries, some type of paralysis is possible. 

4. Repetitive strain injuries

When you drive a forklift, you make the same movements repeatedly. Eventually, you may develop a repetitive strain injury in your hands, shoulders, feet or legs. The following symptoms are common with repetitive strain injuries: 

  • Numbness 
  • Pain 
  • Muscular weakness 
  • Loss of muscular control 

Even though repetitive strain injuries seem minor, they may make it virtually impossible to do your job. Because the same is true for other common forklift injuries, you must work diligently to receive the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.