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Forklift operator dies when his straddle fork overturns and crushes him in California.

Public Health Institute
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 99CA009, 2000 Mar; :1-5
A 49-year old male forklift operator (decedent) died when the canopy of a straddle fork that overturned crushed him. A straddle fork is a forklift-like machine that has forks for lifting fruit bins up to a hydraulic stacking system on the front of the machine and straps that come over the top to secure the bins. The decedent was moving bins of lemons during harvest. He was moving the bins from the orchard to an area where they were later retrieved by hydraulic trailer. The decedent decided to move four bins of lemons down a hill using the straddle fork. This was not an area in which the straddle fork was intended to be operated. As he was traveling down the hill, the straddle fork picked up speed and went off the road into a ravine. The straddle fork had no seat belt and the decedent was thrown from the operator's seat. The employer had no operator's manual for the straddle fork. Training documentation was available but it did not specifically address emergency actions necessary to regain braking control. The employer had a written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). The CA/FACE investigator determined that, in order to prevent future occurrences, employers should as part of their Injury and Illness Program: 1. Ensure straddle forks are equipped with seatbelts for the use of the operator. 2. Ensure straddle forks are equipped with a rollover protective structure (ROPS). 3. Ensure employees are formally trained in all aspects of straddle fork use including emergency procedures. 4. Ensure employees operate machinery only in their designated areas. 5. Provide an operator's manual with the equipment and use it for training purposes. Additionally, manufacturers should: 6. Design straddle forks with properly engineered rollover protective structures and equip them with seatbelts.
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; Safety-programs; Safety-belts; Training; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment
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-99CA009; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-907284
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division