Safety and OSHA News

17-year-old killed in forklift accident

OSHA is investigating an incident in Omaha, NE, in which a 17-year-old boy died after a forklift he was operating fell on top of him.

Miguel Herrera-Soltero was working at Progressive Protein. His stepfather, Richard Leon, was also working at the plant when he heard another worker scream.

After hearing the scream, he saw his stepson on the floor with part of the forklift on his neck. Leon tried to pull the teen from under the machine but couldn’t.

Herrera-Soltero was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

OSHA standards say a forklift operator must be 18 or older. There is an exception for agriculture. Progressive Protein is a rendering plant for animal fats. Herrera-Soltero had worked at the plant just over a month.

As summer approaches, more teens will be entering the workforce. The U.S. Department of Labor has a web page that you can access here that lists jobs teens can and can’t do.

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  1. Brian Donahue(WSO-CST) says:

    I understand the age thing, but how did the forklift “fall on him”? Did the forklift tip over or what? Thanks.

  2. Bill Kowalski says:

    Sounds exactly like a tipover without use of seatbelt. A little more detail would clarify but I’d bet money it was a tipover or an off-the-dock incident.

    Hyster did a study over twenty years ago of forklift accidents with and without seat belt use. They found that without seat belts there was a high risk of serious injury or death in tipover/off-the-dock incidents. In the cases they studies there wasn’t a single serious injury to operators wearing seat belts. What does that say about seat belts? Yes, operators should have them on.

    Seat belt use is still pretty poor in the plants I visit. One reason is OSHA has a position on seat belts but hasn’t pushed it, and too many companies sit around waiting for OSHA to make them do the right thing. Personally I would run a safe operation without OSHA’s “help”.

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