Forklift fatality leads to $67,000 in OSHA penalties
Vehicle was defective, driver didn’t have a clear view
National Pipe and Plastics Inc., of Vestal, NY has been cited by OSHA for 16 serious violations of workplace health and safety standards after a March 22 incident in which a truck driver working for a separate company was fatally struck by a forklift driven by a National Pipe employee.
OSHA inspectors determined that two of the 16 violations found following the March inspection related to the truck driver's death; the truck driver was picking up a load of pipes at the plant. Inspectors found that the forklift had an inoperative backup alarm, and the forklift driver did not have a clear view of the travel path.
Safety protocols were needed
"Establishing safety protocols to address foot traffic in these areas would have helped prevent this tragic incident. National Pipe should have maintained equipment properly, such as the forklift's backup alarm, and ensured forklift operators maintained focus on their path of direction," said Chris Adams, OSHA's area director for Syracuse. "This company must comply with OSHA standards and implement these safety protocols."
OSHA inspectors found additional serious health and safety violations, including failure to maintain surfaces free of combustible dust, maintain fixed stairs at the proper angle, provide handrails on exposed sides of stairways and provide portable metal ladders with slip-resistant rungs.
"One means of preventing accidents and injuries is through an effective safety and health management system where employers and employees work together to evaluate, identify and eliminate hazards proactively," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
The total proposed penalties are $67,000. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.