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FACE Report: Delivery driver dies when forklift overturns

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Case report: 71-205-2021 
Issued by: Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of incident: May 14, 2018

A delivery driver died when the truck-mounted forklift he was operating overturned on a city street. The driver had worked for his employer, a landscape materials supplier, for 18 months. He had a commercial driver’s license and had worked as a delivery driver for other companies. On the day of the incident, the driver was delivering eight pallets of manufactured stone landscape paving blocks to a newly constructed residence. He parked his flatbed truck curbside facing downhill on a 20-degree slope of the street. He used the three-wheel drive, truck-mounted forklift to deliver six pallets. As the driver prepared to lift a seventh pallet from the flatbed, he positioned the forklift in the street to the side of the flatbed. The forklift’s left front wheel was in a 1¾-inch depression in the road. As he was lifting the pallet, the weight of the load and the position of the wheel caused the forklift to overturn. The driver, who was not using the seat belt, was pinned under the forklift’s overhead guard. He died at the scene.

To prevent similar occurrences:

  • Employers should train employees to avoid driving truck-mounted forklifts on steep slopes.
  • Drivers should ensure they choose a safe place to both park the delivery vehicle and operate the forklift.
  • Employers should train forklift operators to follow the requirements of the manufacturer’s operator’s manual.
  • Employers should consider equipping forklifts with a safety interlock system that requires the operator to be in the seat with the seat belt fastened to operate the forklift.
  • Employers should consider unplanned site visits to ensure employees are following proper safety practices.

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