A lumber manufacturer faces a near-$54,000 fine after a worker was struck by a forklift and died
- A worker died after a forklift struck her at a shipping yard in
Alabamain November, the DOL said.
- Sunbelt Forest Products failed to follow safety standards and faces a $54,000 fine, the DOL said.
The 45-year-old worker suffered fatal injuries after a forklift struck her as she walked across a lumber shipping yard operated by Sunbelt Forest Products in Athens, Alabama, on November 15, the DOL said Monday.
The company's failure to follow federal safety standards contributed to the incident, the DOL said. Investigators at the DOL's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (
OSHA said the company hadn't marked separate travel paths for trucks, forklifts, and pedestrians "in any way" and allowed
Sunbelt Forest Products also didn't remove damaged forklifts from service, including some with cracked windshields, a broken side window, a missing rearview mirror, and a compartment door that wouldn't shut properly, OSHA said. This exposed workers to hazards, it said.
A forklift typically weighs between 4,000 and 9,000 pounds and "poses significant risk of severe injury or death to workers who may be struck by this equipment," Ramona Morris, OSHA's area director in Birmingham, Alabama, said in a statement.
Sunbelt Forest Products is headquartered in Florida and supplies pressure-treated lumber and wood to distributors including Lowe's and 84 Lumber along the East Coast and across some parts of the Midwest. Sunbelt Forest Products is owned by UFP Industries.
Sunbelt Forest Products and UFP didn't immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment made outside of regular working hours.
At the time of the incident, Sunbelt Forest Products President Ken Dell Donne told News 19 that the company was investigating. "The employees in our Athens plant are a close-knit group and we share their sadness at the loss of our colleague," Donne added.
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