This case takes place in Ohio and involves a forklift accident at a construction site resulting in injury. The defendant’s foreman instructed the plaintiff, a carpenter who was overseeing a particular aspect of the building site, to supervise the offloading of construction materials from a flatbed truck. As the plaintiff was walking back, a forklift operator who just finished dropping a load, backed up into the plaintiff without looking out for him. The plaintiff suffered injuries and subsequently had to endure a series of reconstructive surgeries. The forklift did not appear to be equipped with a working backup warning system at the time of the accident.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please discuss your background in forklift operations.
- 2. What could have been done to avoid this accident?
- 3. Have you ever served as an expert witness on a case similar to the one described above? If so, please explain.
Expert Witness Response E-007947
I have been a forklift instructor for oil & gas, construction, and other industries for many years. Additionally, I have trained Vermont State employees and a wide array of other organizations. I am experienced in the operation of many makes and models of forklifts including loaders, extenda-boom, order pickers, pallet jackers, walkies, electrical, propane, etc.–all of which have varying load capacities. 2. Several things could have been done. First, I would examine the training of the operator since many industrial accidents occur because of a lack of training. Training is required under the 1910.178(L) standards. Secondly, it is standard practice to conduct a pre-task plan or job safety analysis prior to forklift operations throughout industry, so I’d examine whether or not that was done. Thirdly, I would look at the area to see if the employer removed known, potential, and recognized hazards from the work area. Next, we could examine the mechanics of the forklift since these typically have alarms that sound in reverse. Why didn’t that go off to warn the injured employee? I could even delve into this matter in more depth, but I’ll leave it there for now. I have experience assisting employers and general counsel of these employers in fatality cases. I have assisted in getting these types of matters settled prior to court because negligence under tort laws can be easily proved by utilizing existing OSHA regulations. My experience has been in a consulting capacity where I provided research, reports, and analysis cases such as these.
Expert Witness Response E-000398
There is a regulation and standard in the forklift operator manual that states that the forklift must have a clear line of site in the path of operation. There should have been markings for a path for the driver. I have had many similar forklift accident cases both for plaintiff and defense.