Tasked with driving and off-road forklift, an employee of an on-shore oil and gas company drove over a cattle guard which resulted in one of the forks falling off of the boom. The forklift was manufactured by Gehl. When the heavy iron fork hit the guard it bounced up and severely injured the driver’s leg. The injuries required many surgeries and indefinite, possibly permanent, loss of use of the limb. The injured worker filed suit and hired a fork lift expert witness. The Forklift expert witness is very familiar with the functionality and design of the locking mechanism that was supposed to hold the fork onto the boom as well as the maintenance standards and methods for this type of equipment.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Are you familiar with the machine in question?
- 2. Are you familiar with the locking mechanism used to attach a fork to the boom of this machine?
- 3. Do you have specific knowledge of the design of this apparatus and it's maintenance requirements - to ensure that the fork / boom are properly attached and safe for use?
Expert Witness Response E-009380
I am very familiar with the forklift in question, and have extensive experience with off road forklifts. I was the corporate director of product safety for a construction equipment company that included rough terrain fork trucks (telescopic material handlers). This appears to be a failure in maintenance of this machine, and potentially a misuse of the locking mechanism, which I am very familiar with and have seen on a number of occasions. The company’s failure to address these issues is below the standard of care with regards to workplace safety and OSHA regulations.
This highly qualified Construction Equipment Engineering and Safety expert received certification in Industrial management from Aurora University. He is a certified Safety Professional and a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Society of Safety Engineers and the System Safety Society. This expert is an authority in his field with several publications and multiple invitations to lecture as a guest speaker. He is currently Chairman of the American National Standards Institute and a Safety Consultant at a private consulting company.