Safety and OSHA News

Double amputation: Large lift truck runs over worker

A worker at the Port of Oakland in California lost both her legs after being run over by a container lift that weighed several tons. 

The incident occurred at about 4 a.m. The stevedore was among several employees who had just finished the night shift and were leaving a dock.

Heavy machines, including the container lift, were also leaving the dock at the same time.

It was raining and dark. The lift truck driver didn’t see the worker and ran over her. She was then rushed to the hospital where doctors had to amputate both of her legs.

Ports America had reconfigured the terminal which caused pedestrians and equipment to pass through the same gate.

The company has subsequently changed the gate configuration.

The lift truck driver submitted to drug testing and came out clean. He’s getting therapy to deal with the incident.

Cal-OSHA is investigating.

To avoid collisions with pedestrians and obstacles, OSHA requires lift truck drivers to:

  • be aware of travel conditions along your planned route
  • slow down for wet and slippery floors
  • look in the direction of, and keep a clear view of, the path of travel
  • slow down and sound the horn at cross aisles and other locations where vision is obstructed, and
  • travel with the load trailing if the load obstructs forward view.

For more OSHA resources on lift truck safety, click here.

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  • Whattayamean

    My experience is that many forklift operators do not understand the tremendous responsibility they have when operating one of these machines. Training must be continuous for the operators. It’s unfortunate for all involved, but lucky no one was killed.

    “Ports America had reconfigured the terminal which caused pedestrians and equipment to pass through the same gate.” This was an accident waiting to happen, especially at quitting time when everyone is scrambling to get out. Bad idea. Bad planning. Bad result.

  • Rolling Along

    I have worked in many industrial settings where they declare a “no drive” time during shift change for this very reason. I don’t know what the conditions were in this specific incident, but I have noted that in ports in some countries the dock workers were full body reflective gear. Typically this has been in places like Finland and Denmark.