The death of a construction worker in California provides lessons about trenching and forklift use.
Alejandro Valladares was killed after falling head-first into a trench from the forks of a forklift at a construction site in Hermosa Beach.
Valladares was buried beneath excavated soil that caved in on top of him.
Workers for a contractor, David B. Shaw Concrete and Block, were installing a temporary shoring beam into a 12-foot-long trench.
Valladares was standing on a plywood platform that had been placed on the fork of the forklift. He was using a handheld compactor to drive a beam into a hole. The lift carrying him was about 15 feet from the base of the trench. He lost his balance due to heavy vibration from the compactor.
Workers couldn’t rescue Valladares because the ground in the area wasn’t stable.
Emergency workers used cranes to recover his body, a task that took four hours.
Cal-OSHA stopped work at the site and is investigating.
Valladares was just 29-year-old.
Trenches more than five-feet deep must be properly shored. Also, workers should not ride on the forks of a forklift unless a specialized platform is used.