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Labourer run over by forklift

A labourer at a lumber distribution warehouse helped a forklift operator release the air brakes on four lumber cars so that they could be moved towards the warehouse. As the forklift operator pushed the lumber cars with his forklift, another forklift pulled up alongside him. At the same time, the labourer, who had been standing next to the first forklift, inadvertently stepped in front of the oncoming forklift and was run over. He received fatal crushing injuries.


Findings as to causes

  • The labourer was run over by a forklift and died from his injuries. The labourer and the forklift operator did not see each other before the incident.
Findings as to underlying factors
  • Several factors inhibited the forklift operator's ability to notice the labourer:
    • His position relative to the labourer may have made it difficult to see the labourer.
    • The forklift's components and position likely obscured the operator's view of the labourer.
    • The shift from sun to shadow likely created glare.
    • The forklift operator did not expect the labourer to be there.
  • The labourer was unaware that the forklift was approaching. He may have been trying to use a cellphone, and if that was the case, using the cellphone would likely have reduced his awareness of his surroundings.
  • It is possible that the labourer did not hear the forklift approaching for two possible reasons. First, the noise level in the yard was high and may have masked the noise of the approaching forklift. Second, the labourer may have had an MP3 earphone in his left ear, the side from which the forklift approached.
  • This lumber distribution warehouse did not have a formal occupational health and safety program. A supervisor could have ensured that cellphones and MP3 players were not used in the yard during work hours.

Publication Date: May 2006 File type: PDF (336 KB) Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 200615540305