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Forklift operator crushed between forklift cage and mast while loading waste paper into a trailer - Massachusetts.

Massachusetts State Department of Public Health
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 08MA019, 2010 Jun; :1-10
On April 4, 2008 a 61-year-old male forklift/baler operator (victim) was fatally injured when he was crushed between the cage and mast of the forklift he was operating. The victim was positioning a pallet loaded with waste corrugated cardboard boxes on top of other stacked pallets inside a tractor trailer. The pallet loaded on the forklift tines was lowered onto the stacked pallets inside the trailer, but would not slide off the raised forklift tines. The victim exited the forklift operator's area to assess where the pallet was caught. While climbing up onto the exterior front section of the forklift and then reaching up between the forklift cage and mast, the victim's foot came in contact with and engaged the forklift's mast tilting control lever. The mast tilted back, crushing the victim between the mast and forklift cage. The victim was found by a co-worker who placed a call for emergency medical services (EMS). Co-workers then freed the victim from the forklift. The local fire department arrived within minutes and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The victim was then transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Massachusetts FACE Program concluded that to prevent similar occurrences in the future, employers should: 1.) Ensure that forklift operators never position themselves or any part of their bodies between the forklift operator's cage and the upright of the mast while the forklift is running; 2.) Ensure that standard operating procedures (SOP) are followed during forklift operation and that SOPs include alternative procedures for non-routine tasks, such as inability to lower the tines; 3.) Ensure adequate light is provided in locations where forklifts are operated; Ensure that all federal and state required trainings and licenses for forklift operators are up to date; and 4.) Routinely evaluate the effectiveness of health and safety programs and activities in the workplace. Forklifts manufacturers should: 5.) Design forklifts so that operators cannot place any parts of their body in between the cage and mast and unintentionally engage the mast controls.
Region-1; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Training; Traumatic-injuries; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Work-operations; Work-performance; Work-practices
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-08MA019; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008490
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Massachusetts State Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division