OK, just a very small rant. According to the Oxford Dictionary, “mishap” is defined as “bad luck, or an unlucky event or accident.”

24-year-old killed in workplace mishap

Elizabethtown, KY — , A 24-year-old Metalsa employee was killed early Tuesday morning in a workplace mishap.

Lance Winemiller, 24, of Elizabethtown was struck accidentally by a forklift, Elizabethtown police confirmed in a statement this morning. As a result of injuries sustained, Winemiller was pronounced dead at the scene by the Hardin County coroner’s office. Police were called to the plant on North Black Branch Road just before 3 a.m. today to conduct a death investigation. No other information was immediately available.

There is almost never a week that goes by without a forklift fatality. Forklifts are dangerous. Which is why OSHA has a Powered Industrial Trucks standard, and lots of information on its website, including a handbook, checklist and even a sticker. I

In other words, Lance Winemiller’s death was not a “mishap.” A mishap is when my 1-year-old grandson drops his food dish on the floor.

Lance Winemiller’s death was not “bad luck.” He was not “unlucky.” It was predictable and preventable. And it was a violation of well-recognized safe practices required by OSHA. (And if you don’t like OSHA’s website, a Google search under “forklift safety” will give you more than 46 millions hits in just over half a second.)

One thought on “Worker Killed. Not a “Mishap””
  1. Unless there are more facts than these, I don’t see how we can state unequivocally “…it was a violation of well-recognized safe practices required by OSHA.” There are many forklift-related work practices not explicitly discussed in the standards. I don’t see how we can even judge who was at fault in the incident.
    I routinely see pedestrians not paying attention when walking in areas where vehicles of all sorts operate, including forklifts. It’s the employer’s responsibility to make sure its employees are safe, but pedestrian safety has become much more difficult to manage with the advent of mobile phones and airbuds. I work in a large facility where employees do as they please despite continual reminders and rebukes concerning the use of said items while walking in public areas. It’s as if they are daring someone to take disciplinary action. In today’s age of multi-tasking, it’s as if some people cannot do one thing at a time…in this case, paying attention to surrounding vehicular traffic. Forklift operators can certainly be guilty of operating while distracted, but I think most forklift operators feel a bit more accountable than many pedestrians for their actions.
    I agree that many of these fatalities are preventable. And, in some cases, employers do a poor job of training and reinforcing safe work practices. But I’ve seen plenty of cases where both operators and pedestrians have done things they knew were unsafe. Talk to any seasoned forklift operator and they likely will have multiple stories of goofy things pedestrians have done in their midst. This poor individual may have been the victim of an unsafe workplace…we just don’t know.

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