Forklift death at Port of Los Angeles

News Story
- 21 Mar 2024 ( #1171 ) - Los Angeles, CA, United States
2 min read
A death at the port. PHOTO: KTLA5
A death at the port. PHOTO: KTLA5

A worker has died after becoming trapped under a forklift at the Port of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said it received reports of the incident on Monday morning at Berth 270.

Emergency responders pronounced the trapped person dead on the scene. Local media reports identified the deceased as a man in his 30s. The cause of the incident has not yet been ascertained.

Authorities from multiple agencies are investigating.

Meanwhile, a US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection has found the 2023 fatal injury of a forklift operator at Boston’s Logan International Airport may have been prevented if his employer, a Rochester, New York-based maintenance firm, had ensured proper safeguards for operating and maintaining forklifts.

An Oxford Airport Technical Services’ employee was attempting to drive a forklift into a building when the vehicle’s forks and mast struck the overhang of the entrance, causing the forklift to tip over. The operator, who was not wearing a seatbelt, fell to the ground, and the tipping vehicle fatally struck him.

OSHA inspectors found that the company failed to ensure the worker wore a seat belt while operating the forklift, exposing him to rollover and crushing hazards. 

The agency also determined the forklift’s forks and mast were not raised only as far as necessary to clear the road surface, all forklift operators were not properly trained and certified and that a damaged forklift was not examined before being placed in service and not taken out of service.

These violations resulted in OSHA issuing four serious citations, with USD46,096 in proposed penalties.

“Every workplace fatality is tragic, especially when there are well-known safety measures that could have prevented the loss of a person’s life,” says OSHA area director James Mulligan. “In this case, the employer failed to train and certify their forklift operators on critical safety requirements. It’s simply inexcusable.”

Oxford Airport Technical Services has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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