By Sterling Anthony, CPP, expert in packaging, marketing, logistics, and human-factors.
The Plaintiff was struck by a forklift truck inside a factory. The Plaintiff had been sent to the factory by a temporary employment agency. Plaintiff sued the factory, alleging negligence owed to breach of standards related to material handling, forklift operations, and safe pedestrian traffic.
I was retained by Plaintiff’s attorney.
Defendant breached the standard that a forklift operator must be certified. The fact that the involved operator had experience with forklifts was not an acceptable substitute for certification.
At the time of the accident, the forklift was being operated in reverse, because the height of the load restricted the operator’s vision; however, the back-up alarm, which warns pedestrians, wasn’t working, a condition that had been known by the factory managers but had been allowed to go uncorrected. As a result, Plaintiff was denied the auditory warning that a forklift was operating nearby.
The accident occurred in an area of the factory that did not have convex mirrors stationed at every aisle intersection, including the intersection closest to the accident. As a result, Plaintiff was denied the safety of having his presence detected by properly positioned convex mirrors.
The factory did not have floor markings that delineate pedestrian aisles and pedestrian areas, nor was the floor marked with stencils that identify an area as one in which forklifts operate. As a result, Plaintiff had to carry out his assigned duties, which included traveling to and from parts inventory, without safeguards relative to forklift traffic.
All of the solutions to the inadequacies that contributed to the accident were readily available to the factory and could have been implemented economically and on a short schedule.
Defendant was aware that accidents between forklift and pedestrian carry a high potential for injury and even death. Defendant admitted to knowing that OSHA has requirements aimed at preventing such accidents.
The case settled.
Sterling Anthony can be contacted via 100 Renaissance Center Box 176, Detroit, MI 48243; 313-531-1875; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.thepackagingexpertwitness.com