Houston Heights Construction Site Forklift Accident Leads to Worker’s Death
Posted on Saturday, July 28th, 2018 at 1:53 pm
A construction crew was left mourning after a co-worker was killed at the site of the new Houston Heights H-E-B grocery store while it was being built. After a brief preliminary investigation, authorities found that the worker did not give the right-of-way to the forklift driver, which resulted in the fatal workplace accident. The forklift driver had lost sight of his co-worker, only to find it was too late when the victim reportedly ended up wedged between the driver’s front and back tires. Although medical and police responded to the incident and the victim was immediately taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital, the attempts were in vain and he died at the hospital.
The police investigation found that the forklift driver was not under the effects of alcohol or drugs, nor was he impaired in any way. He was released after questioning and there have been no charges against him.
The forklift driver’s son, who also worked with the men involved, has noted that the two were good friends and that they had been so for a number of years. As one would expect, the driver was reportedly devastated from the event.
Forklift Use and Safety Precautions
Because forklift drivers have limited visibility due to the way the vehicle is required to operate as well as the knifelike lifting portion of the lifts themselves, they are inherently dangerous. There are rules and regulations regarding forklift operators and forklift use that are designed to increase the safety of both drivers and surrounding workers, but tragically, accidents still happen.
Additionally, companies are responsible for their workers’ safety and for maintenance of the forklifts. They are required to take precautions to make sure risks such collisions, falls, tip-overs, and other occupational hazards are minimized. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a number of guides offering best practices for forklifts, which they refer to as Powered Industrial Trucks, including training assistance, forklift operation, understanding workplace conditions, the different types of powered industrial trucks, and more.
Operating a Forklift
Along with the rule that no one under the age of 18 can operate or ride on forklifts, OSHA offers additional operational tips that every workplace should follow to prevent accidents, injuries, and death. These include:
- When available, always wear the vehicle’s seat belt
- Put the vehicle in neutral and set parking brake when raising loads
- Know where other forklifts are operating at the worksite
- Use the forklift’s horns, mirrors, and lights often
- Never lift more than the forklift’s rated load
- Ensure loads are balanced before lifting
- Maintain a proper distance between ramp edges and platforms
- Keep visibility at a maximum
- Observe the worksite speed limit
- Watch for pedestrians
Forklift Training Safety and Maintenance
In addition to operating the forklift, companies must also conduct safety training and maintenance. According to OSHA, the only people who may drive forklifts are those who have been properly trained.. Forklift operators also need to be trained on the different types of powered trucks being used by the company.
The tips offered by OSHA for maintenance are likewise straightforward and following them can help ensure workplace safety. Their forklift maintenance tips are as follows:
- Keep forklifts clean – remove any lint as well as excess grease and oil
- Follow the forklift manufacturer’s preventative maintenance recommendations
- If any forklift is discovered to be unsafe for operation, remove it from service immediately until the danger is remedied
Finding Fault in Forklift and Construction Accidents
While the workplace death discussed above did not lead to any charges by the authorities against the driver, that does not mean the victim’s family is left without a legal course of action.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed by a forklift or in a construction accident, seek medical attention right away – your health and wellbeing are more important than anything when an accident occurs at these dangerous locations.
Furthermore, in the event of injury or death of a loved one at a construction site, seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Williams Kherkher attorneys are experienced workplace injury lawyers who can help you and your family get compensation for the accident. We are here to help you make things right.
Companies and insurance companies routinely delay, deny or underpay claims. We will help you through the process of getting justice and compensation for your or your loved one. Contact us online today for a free legal consultation or give us a call directly at (713) 352-7071.