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Yet Another Tragic Forklift Accident

This should not be happening, folks. It was only a few weeks ago that a man in his 20s lost his life in an industrial accident involving a forklift. Now we are reading reports of a 51 year-old Hernando Beach man losing both legs when a forklift rolled over on him. The incident is still under investigation by the Hernando county Sheriff’s Office.

The accident occurred as the injured man, his 26 year-old son and the 54 year-old driver of the forklift were installing metal wheel stops on the sea wall at Blue Pelican Marina. The son said he thought the 20,000-pound heavy-duty forklift, manufactured by Wiggins, was switched off, rendering the hydraulic brakes inoperable. The forklift rolled toward the injured man, pinning him to a metal fence and severing his legs. The driver escaped from the machine before it landed in the water.

Photos of the accident seem to indicate that the truck was parallel with the slope of the dock when it fell over. A forklift should always be facing uphill and never driven across an incline.

Secondly, it is a miracle the driver himself was not killed or injured. If, as the young man claimed, the driver jumped from the machine before it landed in the water, his actions broke one of the basic rules about forklift safety; namely, if your forklift starts to tip over, DON’T JUMP! According to conventional wisdom under these circumstances, the driver should:

-Stay in the seat and go with the truck

-Hang on tight to the steering wheel

-Brace with his feet

While it’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback in the absence of all the facts about the accident and tut-tut about the rookie errors made by the driver, maybe what we should be doing is digging out our old forklift training notes and giving them the once-over. Assuming the driver in this scenario did have proper forklift training and certification, a quick brush-up on forklift safety tips in between two-year refresher courses could literally make the difference in saving life and limb. Contact us at CertifyMe to see how we can bring you up to speed on forklift safety. The limbs you save may be your own!

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