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Worker seriously injured when struck by automated forklift

Date of incident: January 2013
Notice of incident number: 2013161480032
Employer: Concrete product manufacturer

Incident summary
During the process of de-stacking cured concrete patio slabs at a manufacturing plant, an alarm indicated an alignment problem with the stacked trays. To fix the problem, a worker walked through an alarmed gate into the fenced area where the de-stacker was located. He made the necessary adjustment to align a component of a tray, but before he could leave the area, he was struck by an automated forklift - also known as a finger car - as it delivered a stack of concrete slabs to the de-stacker from the kiln area. The worker suffered serious crushing injuries.

Investigation conclusions
  • Worker struck by automated forklift: The worker had entered the fenced area to correct an alignment problem with the stacked trays of patio slabs. After making the necessary adjustment, he was struck by an automated forklift.
Underlying factors
  • Failure to follow existing safe work procedures: The worker did not follow the safety procedures for the automated forklift. Had he done so, the incident would not have occurred.
  • Failure to develop adequate controls before entering a hazardous area: Workers at the plant could easily ignore the safe operating procedures developed for the fenced area around the automated equipment. An adequate control would have consisted, for example, of an interlock system for the gates to automatically shut down the equipment if workers failed to follow the safe operating procedures.
  • Lack of supervision to enforce safe work procedures: There was no record of disciplinary action taken in response to violating the safe operating procedures, nor could anyone at the manufacturing plant recall any disciplinary action. Supervisors were either not aware of the violations or failed to respond to them adequately.

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Publication Date: Jan 2013 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2013161480032