Wrigley Manufacturing in the US has been fined after a 34-year-old employee died as a result of a fall from a ladder when it was hit by a forklift. Details revealed in the investigation that the ladder had been set up in the forklift traffic lane and this happened often at the plant when the conveyor jammed and employees had to unclog it. Usually the forklift operators would see the ladder in the traffic lane and stop. This time the forklift did not stop.
New procedures have been put in place at the plant: when an employee climbs up a ladder to unclog the conveyor the employee first sets up a temporary gate at the either end of the aisle, then sounds an air horn while working in the aisle. In addition, employees use a spotter to warn and stop any approaching traffic.
It is very sad that somebody had to die before such a simple procedure was put in place.
Let this be a warning to us all: forklifts and ladders don’t mix.