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FACEValue: Worker crushed by forklift

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Case report: 71-171-2018s
Issued by: Washington Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program
Date of incident: Dec. 9, 2015

On the day of the incident, a 45-year-old warehouse dock coordinator at a water bottling company died after he was crushed by the forks of an automated laser-guided vehicle. The company used driverless forklifts in the warehouse to move pallets. LGVs navigated the warehouse using a system of vehicle-mounted lasers and reflectors positioned throughout the facility. Each LGV had safety sensors designed to detect objects or workers in its path. When a sensor detected an object, the LGV would stop and an alarm would sound until a worker removed the obstacle. The victim was working in the warehouse when an LGV alarm was activated. Shortly after, another worker heard noises over the radio and went into the warehouse to investigate. He saw the victim slumped over one of the LGVs. The LGV then started moving again, and the other worker hurried to it and initiated an emergency stop. He could see that the victim had severe injuries to his chest and jaw. The victim was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

To help prevent similar incidents:

  • Incorporate manufacturer safety requirements into written company safety procedures for LGVs.
  • Educate workers on the specific hazards associated with LGVs. Emphasize that workers are expected to follow required safety procedures every time, and ensure compliance through periodic refresher training and spot checks.

To download the full report, go to sh-m.ag/2O6hfSO.

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