Safety and OSHA News

Worker crushed by forklift

Here’s an important reminder for forklift drivers: It’s crucial that they have a clear view of their path while backing up. Anything less can prove to be fatal.

A worker at South Dakota Wheat Growers’ Bristol Grain and Agronomy was killed recently in a forklift accident.

Twenty-three-year-old Eric Bratsveen was pinned between a forklift and a trailer, according to the Aberdeen News. He died later at a hospital.

Bratsveen was attaching a plate to the trailer while a forklift was backing up. The forklift driver didn’t see him.

OSHA is investigating.

Federal statistics show there are about 85 forklift fatalities and 35,000 serious injuries per year.

The main causes of forklift fatalities are:

  • tip-overs (42%)
  • crushed between forklift and a surface (25%)
  • crushed between forklift and another vehicle (11%)
  • struck or run over by a forklift (10%)
  • struck by falling material (8%), and
  • fall from platform on the forks (4%).
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  1. was the forklift equipped with a backup warning beeper

  2. No, the forklift did NOT have a back up warning beeper. Do you know if South Dakota laws or OSHA require back up beepers?

  3. If the forklift has a back up alarm it is required to be functional at all times. So that is the question if it was not manufactured that way not required that’s why they use horns to alarm others in the area.

  4. A back up alarm does not replace using your horn and visually scanning an area for hazards. Always and everytime.

  5. Back up alarm becomes muffled as rpm;s come up according to OSHA and that was with him standing right beside the forklift!! Let alone driver backs up at least 40ft or more really watching where he was going!!! Icing on the cake, the company gets the charge dropped for failure of driver keeping a clear view of path dropped because management didn’t see the driver not looking. Does it take a rocket scientist to figure out— killed somebody—not looking!!!


  1. […] last year, another SD Wheat Growers employee died in a forklift incident at a different company […]

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