Forklift Accident Analysis

Case Description/Summary:  

A truck driver of a flatbed truck made a delivery of two bundles of cold rolled steel bars. There was a total of 18 bars of steel, nine bars per banded steel bundle.   The steel was two-inches by five-inches and 12-feet long.  The edges of the steel were reported to be pointed and/or sharp. Each bundle weighed approximately 3,700 pounds.  Employees at the delivery location wrapped a single industrial nylon sling around one bundle of steel and each eye of the sling was looped onto one of the forklift blades.  The plaintiff was attempting to prevent the bundle of steel from shifting by walking next to the forklift with one hand on the load of steel as the forklift operator traveled from the flatbed truck to a ground storage location. During the process, the industrial nylon sling was cut and the steel then fell on the plaintiff’s leg. The subject industrial nylon sling was provided with warnings/instructions associated with rigging methods, sling capabilities and safe work practices associated with accident prevention and sling failure. In addition, case discovery documents indicated that no one at the company to which the steel was being delivered received training on forklift operations and materials handling such as materials handling equipment inspections and use as required by OSHA.  Further, no one at that company was assigned responsibilities for ensuring compliance with OSHA and/or other recognized safety rules or regulations.


Expert Analysis/Summary:

A materials handling safety analysis included a review of all relevant depositions and other discovery documents, reports, training records, photographs, etc. In addition, a review of relevant research materials, codes, and standards related to acceptable workplace safety practices and standards was performed. It was determined that the company where the steel bars were being delivered had direct safety responsibility for the specific materials handling operation and that they were required to comply with OSHA and other recognized safety practices during the materials handling operation.

It was determined that the cause of the subject accident was the failure of the employer of the plaintiff through their management, supervisors, and employees, to comply with even minimum jobsite safety requirements.

Results:    Verdict for defense.

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