Forklift Follies

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Toronto plastics manufacturer fined after temp worker crushed in forklift accident
October 5, 2017
by Canadian Manufacturing.com Staff

TORONTO—Regency Plastics Co. Ltd. and a supervisor at the company’s Toronto plant have been fined for a forklift accident that left a temp worker permanently injured.

The incident took place in April 2016 at Regency’s site in North York, which manufactures industrial polyethylene packaging.

According to the Ministry of Labour, the temporary worker as well as a permanent employee had been assigned a task on the opposite side of the plant. To get there, the permanent worker got into a single-seat Yale forklift. The temp worker then stood on the forklift’s forks to ride across the plant, but in doing so, obstructed the driver’s view. In the middle of the plant, the forklift hit a structural steel column.

The temp worker on the forks suffered crushing injuries in the collision, which caused a permanent injury.

The investigation into the incident determined that neither worker had taken forklift training while working at Regency, meaning neither were certified.

Along with stipulating that a company must ensure safety procedures are carried out, the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires a supervisor to make sure proper procedure is followed.

Both Regency and the supervisor pleaded guilty to the violations in a Toronto court room late last week. The company was ordered to pay $50,000, while the supervisor faces a $3,000 fine.

There are so many lessons to be learned from this one incident:

  1. Don't utilize a forklift as a mode of transportation. Forklifts are to be utilized to move materials, not people from one side of the plant to the other.
  2. Don't utilize a forklift if you aren't certified and trained. It takes skill to safely drive a forklift and you must be aware of the various controls and operation of the industrial vehicle. It is far different then driving an automobile.
  3. Never carry anyone on the forks of a forklift. It is not a way to transport personnel whether standing on the forks or being lifted using a pallet. These are just unsafe practices from years ago. As well if there is only 1 seat on the forklift, only one person should be on the vehicle.
  4. Never drive forward on a forklift where your view is obstructed. Drive in reverse.
  5. Finally, please note that even the supervisor of the operation was individually fined for the incident. Yes, you can be held responsible for the unsafe practices of your workers.

Take this article and learn the lessons free of charge rather than facing a life changing injury or a monetary fine.


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