At this particular warehouse, it was common practice for workers to place one foot or both feet on a pallet and move inventory on the top shelf while a coworker lifted them to the top shelf using the forklift. The featured worker slipped on the pallet while moving inventory and fell. He died in a hospital a few days later.
To help prevent similar fatalities, OSHA advises employers to:
- Prohobit workers from riding or standing on pallets lifted by forklifts
- Provide workers with the proper tools and equipment for each task, including tools to access elevated storage shelves
- Use equipment designed for lifting workers in a warehouse, such as:
- Manufactured personnel platforms designed for lifting workers on a forklift, which incorporate fall protection (i.e., guardrail systems). This option requires prior written approval from the forklift manufacturer (29 CFR 1910.178(a)(4)).
- High-lift order pickers, a powered industrial truck equipped with personal fall arrest equipment and designed to lift the operator alongside the forks
- Provide training on forklifts to workers who operate and work near them. Training should include formal instruction and hands-on training at a level and in a language workers understand.
- Provide workers with fall protection and ensure their proper use in accordance with the Walking-Working Surfaces rule, and personal fall protection system standards.
Employers must ensure that workers do not operate a forklift with another worker on a pallet, and that they follow manufacturers’ instructions (29 CFR 1910.178(l)(1)).
Forklift Safety Resources:
- Download the FatalFacts sheet (pdf).
- Review OSHA forklift standards.
- Safety Tip: Prevent Common Forklift Accidents
- Best Practices for Forklift Safety
- Safety Tip: Ensure Safe Forklift Operation
- Browse forklift safety signs and labels at ComplianceSigns.com.