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Port of Detroit Marine Terminal Worker Killed in Forklift Accident

Safe forklift operation is sometimes taken for granted, but a recent deadly forklift accident in Michigan shows just how imperative safety is.

Last month, a Port of Detroit Marine Terminal worker was struck and killed by a forklift. Conflicting reports have emerged as to the victim’s age, but one thing is clear – he wasn’t seen by the forklift operator who ran him over.

A Fox News story said the man was 62 years old, while a legal website indicated the worker may have been about half that age (30 years old). The worker was employed by Nicholson Terminal & Dock (NTD) and was killed at the Port of Detroit’s Marine Terminal. News reports said the man was spotting for the forklift driver that didn’t see him, while an employee said the victim was checking cargo.

Regardless, this accident illustrates the importance of safe, compliant forklift operation. Many times, an accident will only send someone to the hospital with a leg injury. There are also instances where a warehouse or dock worker narrowly escapes a disaster. But this accident in Michigan was, unfortunately, an all-too-familiar news story: the worker ended up being killed.

Nicholson Terminal and Dock employs about 50 people, according to Rhonda Burke, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor oversees the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency in charge of regulating workplace conditions.

Interestingly enough, OSHA has visited the facility 28 times over the past 40 years, according to records. The most recent was in May 2009, but no citations were issued. In 2004, OSHA investigated a fatality at Nicholson Terminal & Dock and issued eight citations.

Even with regularly scheduled visits from OSHA, deadly accidents can still happen. In order to prevent workplace fatalities involving forklifts, it’s a good idea to keep your workers up-to-date with the latest certification.

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