The death of a California worker who was crushed by a five-ton forklift has resulted in multiple safety violations and $62,320 in fines against Good View Roofing & Building Supply Corporation.
How it happened
The accident occurred on November 21, 2016 when a a 60-year-old forklift operator was transferring building supplies from the company’s warehouse to a customer’s vehicle. When the forklift descended a sloped ramp, a bag of mortar mix fell off of the load and blocked the front right wheel. The operator reversed the forklift to free the bag of mortar and while doing so, turned the steering wheel so that the back wheel went over the edge of the ramp, tipping the five-ton forklift over. The worker attempted to jump out of the cab and was fatally crushed by the forklift.
A training lack
“This incident could have been prevented had the employer effectively evaluated the workplace for hazards, which would have identified the unguarded edge of the ramp that exposed the forklift to tipping,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “The worker should have been properly trained to stay seated with the seatbelt fastened in the event of a tip over.”
The six violations cited in Cal/OSHA’s investigation included three classified as serious accident-related, one serious, one regulatory and one general. The serious accident-related violations were cited for the company’s failure to ensure:
- the proper use of a forklift seatbelt,
- the forklift operator is certified to operate the vehicle safely, and
- that industrial ramps have at least an 8-inch curb or equivalent installed along the open edges to prevent the wheels of industrial trucks from running off the ramp.
The serious violation was cited for the employer’s failure to inspect and identify hazards in the workplace, provide written safety instruction on industrial trucks in a language readily understandable by all of the workers, and for failure to ensure that all affected workers comply with the forklift safety requirements at the worksite.