Safety Tips FACE Reports

FACE Report: Steelworker crushed while operating extendable boom forklift

Photo: NIOSH

Case report: #22MI001 
Issued by: Michigan State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of report: Sept. 8, 2023

A 29-year-old steelworker was using a telehandler to move and stage insulated metal panels at a municipal garage building site. He had worked for his employer, a commercial and industrial firm for design and build services, for seven months. He had received training on the equipment and had an operator’s permit. The worker stopped the unloaded telehandler and set the emergency brake but did not turn off the machine. With his left leg between the steering wheel and seat, and his right leg kneeling on the seat, he reached out to the right of the operator’s seated position – placing his body between the deck and boom of the machine. While reaching, he contacted the boom control joystick, which pushed the joystick forward and to the right. This lowered and fully extended the telehandler’s telescopic boom – crushing the worker’s head and chest between the deck and boom. The worker was found under the boom, which was fully extended with down-pressure applied. It is believed he was reaching for items that were stored on the deck of the machine and had shifted out of reach from the seat. He was pinned for an unknown amount of time before being found by other workers. Police and emergency medical services arrived, and the worker was pronounced dead at the scene. No citations were issued.

To help prevent similar occurrences, employers and workers should:

  • Install a guard or window – approved by the manufacturer – to cover the opening to the right of the operator’s seated position.
  • Prohibit the use of the deck area under the boom to store materials.
  • Develop procedures and train employees on how to prevent the boom from lowering if it is necessary to enter the area.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)