In a tragic forklift accident Thursday, September 6, Shakeem Farnum, 43, suffered catastrophic head trauma. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Lincoln Hospital. Police on the scene explained the death was caused by the way a forklift was being driven, The New York Post reported at the time.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident. They have received no prior complaints about the food distribution company, Chef’s Warehouse Food Distribution Company. In addition, Chef’s Warehouse is aiding in all investigations, noting that they are committed to the safety of their employees.
Farnum, who was operating the forklift at the time, was working at 1 a.m. His head became wedged between the shelving and the forklift machine, causing severe injury to his brain. Unfortunately, crushing injuries like these are some of the top hazards faced by workers in the material handling industry.
What’s more, injuries of this kind are not uncommon. That’s why forklift drivers are required to pass specific authorization training, which must be renewed every three years. Despite this rigorous training period, forklifts are still a cause of many workplace injuries.
Recently, another forklift injury made headlines. In June 2017, Amateur MMA fighter Dustin Ventimiglia was crushed by a forklift he operated.
Though his injuries didn’t result in death, he was hospitalized for three days before the doctors were even able to figure out the extent of his internal damage.
Ventimiglia specifically remembers driving his forklift load high, causing the machine to topple over and crush him. Even the most experienced of forklift operators can make one poor choice and end up in a dire situation.
Officials highly recommend that forklift operators make sure to maintain awareness of their environment while maneuvering the machine. They also recommend that all those working with and around forklifts wear appropriate safety gear, such as a hard hat or high visibility vest. In addition, always be aware of your forklift’s speed. Because of the nature of the machine, a forklift tends to be very top heavy during operation. High speeds, especially around turns, can cause catastrophic injury.
The tragic accidents of both Shakeem Farnum and Dustin Ventimiglia highlight the dangers faced by workers in the material handling and warehousing industry. As such, being aware of the safety protocols and following them can and will save workers’ lives.