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FACEValue: Worker dies after fall from forklift platform

Case report: #13-NJ-049*
Issued by: New Jersey Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of incident: Summer 2013

A 35-year-old warehouse worker died after falling 10 feet from an elevated forklift platform. On the day of the incident, the victim and a co-worker were adjusting warehouse shelving. The victim parked the forklift, elevated the platform to approximately 10 feet, walked out onto the platform and fell off the open end, landing on the cement floor. The victim was wearing a body harness; however, his lanyard was not connected to the anchor point on the forklift. The victim died eight days later.

To help prevent similar occurrences:

  • Employees should use a personal fall arrest system when operating an elevated forklift platform. The system should have an anchorage, connectors, body harness and retractable lanyard connected to the appropriate anchor point.
  • Workers should be tied into the anchor point on the cab.
  • Forklift manufacturers should consider designing a barrier on the unsecured edge of the platform and including a lockout/tagout system so the machine will not lift unless the anchor is in use.
  • Implement a safety plan based on a job hazard analysis.

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