Company fined following deadly forklift accident (4/9)
The inspection was prompted by an Oct. 3, 2007, accident in which a Con-Way Freight employee died when he was crushed beneath the forklift he was operating after it went off the edge of a loading dock. OSHA's inspection found that the employee had not been using the forklift's seatbelt, and the company had not trained him and other forklift operators to follow the manufacturer's guideline that seatbelts be used during operation.
"Manufacturer guidelines require the use of seatbelts, and OSHA's powered industrial truck standard mandates that employers train their forklift operators to follow those guidelines," said Francis Pagliuca, OSHA's acting area director for New Hampshire. "Con-Way Freight repeatedly has refused to require forklift operators to use seatbelts even though another employee died in a similar accident in Dallas in 2003.”
For the lack of training, OSHA issued Con-Way Freight one willful citation, with the maximum proposed fine of $70,000. One repeat citation was also issued, with a $35,000 fine, for allowing the forklift to be operated in a defective condition. OSHA cited the company's Bridgeview, Ill., facility for a similar hazard in May 2007.
In addition, OSHA issued three serious citations, with $14,500 in fines, for the lack of seatbelt use, not having the forklift maintain a safe distance from the edges of the loading dock, and not marking aisles and passageways for forklift use.