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The incident occurred about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the upscale clothing retailer’s distribution center in New Albany, Ohio.
Two Forklifts Collide
According to police, forklift operator Mark Daniels was driving his vehicle inside the facility when it collided with another forklift operated by another employee. Daniels was transported to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, where he later died.
The other driver was not even injured in the accident, according to investigators.
No further details about the cause of the accident were released, although the day after the incident the Franklin County coroner’s office ruled Daniels’ death accidental.
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.
In the wake of the incident, Abercrombie & Fitch issued a statement that read, “We are mourning the loss of one of our associates and saddened by the tragic accident that occurred at our distribution center last night. Our thoughts are with the associate’s family, friends, and co-workers.”
Review Safety Guidelines
While the specifics of what caused this fatal accident are not yet known, what is know are ways forklift operators can prevent collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians in the workplace.
This unfortunate incident could be a good opportunity to review some of these:
Accidents can be avoided as long as the driver of the lift has been properly trained in its operation; when certain precautions are taken when designing the warehouse; and when the distribution of the load and design features of the forklift are taken into account when driving a lift.
What Drivers Can Do to Prevent Accidents
Behavioral issues to consider when operating a forklift include:
· Excessive speed.
· Driving with the load elevated.
· Inappropriate backup methods.
· Improper turning, braking, or accelerating.
· Inadequate warnings to others concerning forklift use nearby.
· Bad communication between the forklift operator and other employees when sharing an assignment or space.
· Parking the lift inappropriately.
· Inconsistent operation of the lift.
· Incompetent servicing of the forklift.
Things to Consider
The forklift operator can avoid accidents when taking into account:
· How items are stacked or piled on the pallet.
· The condition of the pallets.
· The weight of the load.
· The stability of the load and whether it is obstructing vision.
Know Your Vehicle Inside and Out
The operator of a forklift should have a full understanding of how the forklift works and how to maintain it. This knowledge can prevent all sorts of accidents caused by the mechanical condition or design of the forklift. These issues include:
· The proper function of brakes, steering, clutch, shift linkage, transmission, and mast assembly.
· The proper condition of the hydraulic system and transmission.
· The condition of safety devices to ensure proper operation.
· Emissions from the forklift.
· Blind spots or obstructions on the lift that block the driver’s view.
· Poor layout of controls and displays.
An experienced forklift operator knows what a forklift can or can’t do and also knows how an addition to a forklift can adversely affect its safe use. So he should be responsible for deciding what accessories would be appropriate to add to a lift.