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Forklift Driver Killed When Floor Collapses

Friday, April 1, 2011

By: Jeff Ord, President of Forklift Safety Training Services, Inc.

Tonight, I’m pushing right up to the deadline date to write my “Safety Corner” article for Material Handling Network. Based on today’s circumstances, I decided to share the “flip-side” of our forklift operator safety training business that is contrary to our commitment to promote Nationwide OSHA compliant forklift operator safety training with our award winning training programs.

Within an hour after this accident occurred this morning, I received a phone call from a news reporter asking me “why and how could this forklift accident happen?” At the same time they sent me an email with the media release and photograph’s from Captain Rita Burris with Indianapolis Fire Department.

Unfortunately, we are frequently contacted when a forklift accident takes place but, this one’s different and stands out from all of the others. There’s no reason this should have ever happened.

March 16, 2011, Indianapolis
Emergency crews responded to a deadly forklift accident at an Indianapolis business Wednesday morning. It took firefighters over eight hours to shore up the floor and retrieve the body of the forklift operator.

Police say a long-time employee was operating the forklift at a food processing plant when it crashed through the concrete floor and plunged 14 feet to the basement, taking out a 24’ diameter section of flooring. The forklift operator was buried under the forklift and debris. Firefighters were able to locate the forklift operator and medics pronounced him dead on the scene. The man is identified as a 50-year-old white male who is a long time employee of the company.

The portion of the floor where the accident happened was not reinforced. Officers say it was clearly marked that way and didn’t know why the man was driving in that area. Firefighters spent much of the day shoring up the floor in order to retrieve the body.

About 25 workers were in the building at the time. The business shut down for the day.

Published for your awareness and reminder to always keep safety top of mind.

Contact Forklift Safety Training Services, Inc. at 800/494-3225, 702/294-3970 or visit

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