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Building supply company fined for fatal forklift accident

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Forklift

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health fined a building supply company $62,320 for six safety violations that led to a fatal forklift accident at its San Francisco warehouse last year.

A 60-year-old forklift operator, identified in local news reports as Ruan Qiang, was transferring building supplies from San Francisco-based Good View Roofing & Building Supply Corp.’s warehouse to a customer vehicle in November when the forklift he was driving tipped over the edge of a ramp. The worker attempted to jump out of the cab, but was fatally crushed by the five-ton forklift, according to a statement issued by Cal/OSHA Monday.

"This incident could have been prevented had the employer effectively evaluated the workplace for hazards, which would have identified the unguarded edge of the ramp that exposed the forklift to tipping," said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "The worker should have been properly trained to stay seated with the seatbelt fastened in the event of a tip over."  

The company was cited for three serious accident-related violations for failure to ensure proper use of a forklift seatbelt, failure to ensure the forklift operator was certified to safely operate the vehicle, and failure to ensure industrial ramps have at least an 8-inch curb along open edges to prevent the wheels of industrial trucks from running off the ramp.

The company also was issued a serious violation for failure to inspect and identify hazards, provide written safety instruction on industrial trucks in a language readily understandable by all workers and for failure to ensure that all affected workers comply with the forklift safety requirements at the worksite.

Representatives from Good View Roofing & Building Supply were not immediately available to comment.