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Worker seriously injured by forklift

Date of incident: January 2014
Notice of incident number: 2014116110004
Employer: Sawmill

Incident summary
A worker was standing in a kiln's track area, preparing to spot a charge (load of lumber) being pushed out of the kiln. A forklift operator was working in the same area, delivering wood to a planer. The forklift operator backed into the track area, and one of the back tires of the forklift went over the worker's lower leg, resulting in serious crushing injuries. The forklift operator drove away unaware that contact was made. The injured worker was able to call for help on his radio.

Investigation conclusions

  • Forklift struck worker after forklift operator and worker failed to see one another: The forklift operator did not see the worker, and the worker did not hear or see the approaching forklift. As a result, the forklift ran over the worker's leg, resulting in a serious injury.

Underlying factors

  • Inadequate radio communications: The workplace procedure for entering the area where the incident occurred is to radio ahead to forklift operators. The worker broadcasted to say that he would be in the area. However, this was only one-way communication. The procedure did not require the forklift operator to confirm that he had received the worker's message.
  • Blind spots created by charge of lumber, counterweight, and cab frame: The forklift operator's visibility was limited by the charge of lumber in the area, as well as by the forklift's counterweight and its cab frame.
  • Congestion at the infeed area: The forklift operator took the only route available when another forklift and the lumber in another area blocked all the other routes.

Request the full report

Publication Date: Jan 2014 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2014116110004