New Employee Dies One Hour into Job

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A 17-year old worker died just one hour into his new job after becoming pinned under a forklift. The teenage male had just started his first job at a commercial grain and hay feed store. His family was a longtime customer of the store and he knew the manager well. He was hired to haul bags to customers' vehicles and other miscellaneous tasks.

Shortly after the teen reporting for work the first day at 11:50 a.m. the store manager had to go to the bank with the store receipts from the previous day. The store manager instructed another employee to work the cash register while he was gone and instructed the victim to “hang loose” until he returned.

The employee assigned to the cash register was helping a customer who ordered three bales of hay, along with other items from the store, when he heard the forklift start up. A few minutes later another customer came running into the store stating the forklift had just turned over by the hay stacks.

Perhaps anxious to prove his enthusiasm for the job, the new employee jumped onto a forklift, whose keys were in its ignition, and drove to where the bales were stored 7-high in the back parking lot. While backing the forklift with the mast raised high to reach the top hay bales, the worker ran over a rain gutter formed into the lot concrete, causing the lift truck to tip and crush him. He died hours later from the injuries.

A couple lessons can be learned from this news report.

  • The store had a training program that provided specific training to its employees for the tasks being performed. However the victim had not been through it yet as the manager went to the bank first.
  • It’s important not to perform tasks you are not familiar with and have not been trained on the hazards. The keys were left in the forklift allowing anyone to operate it. Always remove your key from the forklift to prevent unauthorized and untrained people from attempting to utilize the equipment.

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