Killed By Your Own Forklift

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The cage of a forklift gives the operator protection from many hazards as they utilize the powered industrial truck to do their jobs whether in a warehouse or a construction site. One of the foundations of forklift training is to "stay in the seat" during many incidents such as shifting loads, imbalance of vehicle and the like.

However one of the most common incidents among forklift operators occurs when they leave the vehicle. All too often this puts operators in the danger zone in busy warehouses or other operating environments when they become a pedestrian themselves, among the vehicles. Surprisingly it occurs more than one would think . . . they get hurt from their own vehicle as recently occurred in Salt Lake City.

Construction worker killed in forklift accident in downtown Salt Lake City
By Nancy Van Valkenburg
Gephardt Daily - February 23, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A 22-year-old construction worker died Saturday morning in an industrial accident in downtown Salt Lake City.

Detective Michael Ruff confirmed to Gephardt Daily that crews were dispatched at 6:30 a.m. to 151 S. West Temple, which is across the street east from the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Ruff said the man had been operating a forklift before he climbed off, and the forklift moved and pinned him against a large metal bin.

“He had been manipulating a forklift, and it moved and pinned him between the forklift and a metal dumpster,” Ruff said. “For some reason, he got off the forklift, and it started to move. He was the only one there.”

The call came in to dispatch, and Salt Lake City Fire and SLCPD crews responded, but the man could not be saved, Ruff said. The victim’s name has not been released.

Such incidents are totally preventable by following the following guidelines each and every time you leave your powered industrial truck:

  • Park in a designated area outside the area of traffic, pedestrians, product and equipment.
  • Lower the forks to the floor.
  • Place the transmission in neutral (if equipped).
  • Turn off the ignition
  • Remove the key and take it with you

These seem like basic rules, and are actually above the requirements of OSHA, but they will ensure you or your coworkers don't get hurt from your own forklift or industrial vehicle. They key is to do it EACH and EVERY time you leave the vehicle no matter for the purpose or duration.

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