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Here’s a reminder for forklift operators: Besides watching out for their own safety, they have to be aware of others around them.

Jesus Hernandez-Blas was killed when he was struck in the head by a forklift. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hernandez-Blas was working in an industrial park in suburban Chicago for Resource Management, a recycling company.

The driver of the lift truck didn’t see Hernandez-Blas. Authorities speculate that dense fog may have contributed to the incident.

The forklift driver submitted to an alcohol test which he passed.


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At Safety News Alert, we comb the Internet daily to find news stories of interest to safety pros. So, you can’t blame us for wanting to find out what this story was about after reading the headline:

‘Manhood’ lost in workplace accident.

It’s not what you might think.

The Brisbane Times in Australia used that headline on a story about 31-year-old Regan Fynn.

He’s suing his former employer, CSR Ltd., in connection with an injury he suffered involving a forklift.

Fynn was trying to exit the forklift but fell due to a missing foot step on the machine.

His full body weight landed on his right arm.

His lawyers say, while Fynn was once a strong, fit man, he now suffers from constant pain and weakness in his right arm and hand.

Two surgeries haven’t helped, and Fynn has become “introverted, morose and depressed.”

In fact, his claim against CSR says, “He feels as though he is unable to provide for his family and feels as if he has lost his manhood.”

OK, now we get it.

Fynn says he’s unable to teach his children to play sports, he suffers from emotional problems, and his marriage and sex life have suffered.

He seeks $503,000 from CSR, saying the company was negligent because it didn’t maintain the forklift properly.

You know how, despite the fact that both countries speak English, certain words don’t translate exactly the same between the U.S. and Australia? This story makes us wonder.


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As this case shows, when it comes to forklifts even the most experienced person can suffer a fatal incident.

Bill Matthews, a longtime businessman in Chandler, OK, wascrushed to death by an 11,000-pound forklift.

Matthews, 64, died at his business, Lincoln County Farm Center.

According to police, Matthews had put a fertilizer sack on the forks and drove up to a dispenser stack.

After he set the parking brake and got off the forklift, it started to roll backward.

When Matthews jumped back on the forklift, it rolled over and pinned him underneath.

Police found Matthews lying beneath the forklift with the top bar of the roll cage on his head.

OSHA is investigating.

You can use this story or others in our forklift section to discuss hazards with employees.

Forklift operators should follow these precautions:

  • Always try to find a level surface to park on.
  • Lower forks, or the forklift attachment, when parking.
  • Put the gear into neutral.
  • Make sure the wheels are straight.
  • Set the parking brake.
  • Turn off the engine before dismounting the forklift.
  • Don’t jump from an overturning, sit-down forklift. Stay with the truck, bracing yourself firmly and leaning in the opposite direction that the truck is falling.
  • Inspect forklifts daily, as required by OSHA.
  • Know whether or not your forklift has an automatic parking brake that sets when there is no weight on the seat (when the operator leaves the forklift).

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