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Vineyard equipment operator dies after being crushed by a forklift in California.

NIOSH 1996 Oct; :1-4
A 42-year-old male equipment operator (the victim) died after being crushed by a forklift. Just prior to the incident, the victim was helping his co-worker attach a piano (spreader bar) to a gondola full of grapes. When the victim and his co-worker finished attaching the piano, the co-worker signaled the forklift driver to lift the gondola. The forklift driver then stepped on the accelerator in order to generate enough power to lift the gondola off the ground. The accelerator controlled the speed of the engine that supplied power to both lift the forklift arms and move the forklift. The forklift was in forward gear at the time, and consequently moved ahead approximately eight feet, crushing the victim. The forklift driver had not realized that the forklift was in gear at the time. It was the company standard operating procedure (SOP) to put the forklift into neutral or put the emergency brake on prior to lifting a gondola. The victim had been working between two gondolas and could not move out of the way of the oncoming forklift. He was run over by the left front dual wheels on the forklift. The forklift operator immediately turned off the forklift when he realized what had happened. The victim's co-worker ran to his aid and discovered that he was lodged beneath the front left dual tires on the forklift. The co-worker yelled to the forklift driver to move the forklift forward off the victim. The forklift driver moved the forklift off the victim while the co-worker ran to a nearby phone and summoned emergency services. When the co-worker returned he checked the victim for spontaneous respirations and pulse but could not detect either. The victim was not breathing and his heart had stopped when first checked by paramedics. The CA/FACE investigator concluded that in order to prevent similar future occurrences, employers should: 1. provide a formal forklift safety training program for all employees who operate forklifts. 2. have a documented standard operating procedure (SOP) for all workers involved in the operation of loading gondolas onto trucks. In addition, product manufacturers and designers should: 3. consider equipping forklifts with interlocks so that lifting cannot take place while a forklift is in gear. Alternatively, forklifts could be equipped with alarms that signal when there is an attempt to change the forks' position while the transmission is in gear.
Region-9; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Protective-equipment; Training; Equipment-operators; Drivers
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-95CA018; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-907284
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute