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Forklift operator suffers fatal injuries in baler incident

Inadequate training contributed to worker’s death

Posted May 19, 2023

A forklift operator suffered fatal injuries after falling into a recycling baler while trying to remove a jam. The victim had worked for the company for ten weeks prior to his fatal incident. His job duties included delivering material to the production line, bringing finished paper products to shipping and storage areas, and dumping waste products into the recycling baler.

Although the company had a written Injury and Illness Prevention Program in place, the victim had not completed all required training on how to operate the recycling baler.

Investigators were unable to determine if the victim slipped from the platform or climbed into the hopper to remove the jam, but lack of training and inadequate communication were contributing factors in the fatal incident.

To prevent similar cases, investigators recommend that all employees who operate balers be properly trained on how to operate the equipment and only remove jams under supervision. Investigators also suggest that baler manufacturers install safety devices to safeguard workers from moving parts.

This article was written by Carmen King of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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