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Investigators from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating an accident in which a forklift attachment apparently fell off a lift truck and struck a worker in the head, killing him.
The incident occurred about 12:25 p.m. Friday, February 27, at a construction site in Rochester, Minnesota, where workers from Far West Construction, of Utah, were building a Microtel Inn & Suites.
Disaster Strikes Suddenly
James Benjamin Sandmire, 30, of Lehi, Utah, was standing on the third floor of the building when a section of pre-fabricated wall was being raised into place by a LULL brand telescoping forklift, according to news reports. The forklift was equipped with a forklift attachment that was being used to hoist the wall into place.
The entire attachment apparently fell off the forklift, striking Sandmire, according to Rochester Police Lieutenant Jeff Stilwell.
Sandmire’s coworkers didn’t see the accident, but heard a loud noise. When they arrived on the scene, they found Sandmire trapped beneath the forklift attachment.
Co-Workers Tried to Save His Life
The workers lifted the forklift attachment off of Sandmire and performed CPR on him until rescue workers could arrive. He was transported via Gold Cross Ambulance to the Mayo Clinic, where he was pronounced dead.
“It’s under investigation, but we believe it’s some sort of head trauma that led to his death,” Stilwell said.
A Family Man Who Loved to Hunt
Sandmire had a wife and four children back in Utah. A fundraising campaign has been set up on the website YouCaring.com to help support his family and as of this weekend more than $61,000 had been collected.
Sandmire, who was working under the name of Ben Baird, was described as a kind-hearted man who loved his family.
“While working a long way from home to support his family, Ben Baird, husband and father of four very young children was taken suddenly in a tragic accident,” according to the website. “Ben was a kind-hearted, generous and genuine friend to all who knew him.”
According to an obituary for Sandmire that appeared in the Utah newspaper Herald Extra, he loved riding mules and hunting.
“These passions were surpassed only by his loyalty to the gospel of Jesus Christ and his devotion to his family,” it read. “He adored his children.”
OSHA Seeking Answers
Meanwhile, an investigation into what may have caused the forklift attachment to suddenly disengage from the vehicle is being conducted by OSHA, along with the insurance company of PLC Inc., of Fargo, North Dakota, the company that is developing the hotel project.