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Forklift operator dies in work accident in warehouse

Forklift drivers in all industries should receive adequate training in the operation of forklifts. The U. S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires company owners to ensure that forklift operators are qualified and aware of all potential hazards. Due to the high rate of fatalities involving forklifts in the workplace, OSHA initiated a program to educate employers and employees in Missouri and two neighboring states about the potential hazards and how to prevent a work accident that involves a forklift.

OSHA recently completed an investigation that followed the death of a forklift operator in a neighboring state. Operating a forklift in areas where space is restricted, such as a warehouse, often requires special skills. OSHA reports that a 54-year-old worker was moving trusses from one area to another in a warehouse. After unloading one load, he proceeded to a different area but failed to maintain control of the forklift. The vehicle swerved toward some shelves, pinning the operator between the forklift and the shelves.

The worker suffered fatal injuries. OSHA found that the worker's death was avoidable and cited the company for failure to protect its workers against struck-by hazards. OSHA underscored the importance of ensuring that aisles in warehouses where forklifts are operated should be clear of out-of-place objects and other debris.

Most workers in Missouri are covered by the workers' compensation insurance fund. Any family who has lost a loved one in a work accident may be concerned about its ability to afford a funeral and burial, along with the loss of regular income. Surviving family members are commonly entitled to pursue death benefits from workers' compensation. In addition, to assist spouses and dependents with daily living expenses, a percentage of the deceased worker's average monthly income will be provided as a financial package.

Source: wowt.com, "Menards Cited After Worker Fatally Pinned at Menards Warehouse", March 5, 2015

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