Freetown, MA – OSHA is investigating the death of worker in a forklift accident at a distribution center earlier this week.
Meanwhile, an advocacy group focused on workplace safety is calling the death of Alphonse Ferent at the distribution center a “tragic and needless loss of life.”
The statement from the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health (MassCOSH) came a day after the death of Ferent, 51, of Stoughton, when a forklift used for unloading tractor-trailer trucks crushed him. The incident occurred when a truck pulled away from a loading dock, causing Ferent to fall and the forklift to fall on top of him.
MassCOSH also stated that this most recent fatal accident is the 21st forklift death to occur in the New England region since 2007.
The Freetown, Mass. Stop & Shop Distribution Center recently made headlines Jan. 2 when a refrigeration unit on a trailer caught fire at the loading dock, causing smoke to enter the warehouse. No injuries were reported at that incident.
And in Boise, Idaho, a man was transported by air ambulance to a local hospital after he was reportedly hit by a forklift in the parking lot of a Parma onion company.
According to OSHA, powered industrial truck accidents cause approximately 100 fatalities and 36,340 serious injuries in general industry and construction annually.
It is estimated that 20 – 25% of the accidents are, at least in part, caused by inadequate training.
Since a large percentage of accidents and fatalities were due to operator inexperience, OSHA mandated that operators must be trained and competent, per 29 CFR 1910.178.