This case takes place in Missouri and involves a woman who was injured while employed as a construction consultant on a commercial construction project. On the day of the accident, the defendant was operating a forklift in order to offload pallets of construction materials. She was traveling along the periphery of the construction site when she struck the plaintiff while carrying a full load of materials. As a result of the incident, plaintiff sustained severe injuries including several broken vertebras, and will be unable to return to her former job. It is alleged that the defendant was not properly operating the forklift and failed to take the proper precautions to avoid this incident.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Do you have knowledge of the proper steps and protocols to follow when operating a forklift?
- 2. Have you ever served as an expert on a similar forklift case? If so, please explain.
Expert Witness Response E-009380
I have operated forklifts in industry as well as being in charge of of safety in several operations utilizing forklifts. I was the Director of Product Safety for a manufacturer of forklifts and other industrial equipment My duties required a detailed knowledge of forklift safety practices as well as applicable OSHA and ANSI standards and industry practices. As a consultant, I have consulted and testified on accidents involving injuries caused by pedestrian collisions with fork trucks as well as other machinery. The industry standards and procedures are replete with warnings and instructions to avoid machine collision with personnel. as a general thing It is the duty of the employer or facility operator to provide a safe workplace and safe procedures. There are plenty of warnings and instructions for the fork truck operators to look out for pedestrians but depending on circumstances, the pedestrian may have some responsibility for his/her own safety.
Expert Witness Response E-019392
I have operated forklifts since 1985 and have been a forklift trainer since 1994. I would like to know if / what training was provided to the employee, safety protocols that were set by the company, condition of forklift and how often it was inspected. Was the driver moving product, was his view blocked? What was the area of operation, inside / outside, was it an aisle or was it an open area? Each have set protocols. The short answer is the a forklift driver should not operate in an area while pedestrians are present, and it sounds like the company had an untrained employee operating the forklift and there could be an unsafe culture within the company.