At around 3pm on Saturday March 10, a hardhat was horrifyingly crushed to death by a forklift at a work site in Bushwick, Brooklyn. According to the New York Daily News, 46-year-old construction worker Jorge Castaneda was walking between a forklift and a flatbed truck when the forklift, carrying a payload of scaffolding pipes, tipped over. Pinned between the two vehicles, Castaneda was trapped and fatally crushed.
The incident occurred near the intersection of Stewart St. and Broadway.
An eyewitness who was acquainted with Castaneda described the horrifying scene to the New York Daily News.
“He was completely passed out; it was so bad,” said Jose Rosario. “He looked like he was done.”
First responders released Castaneda by pulling the forklift upright. He was rushed to Brookdale University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The incident is heartrending and incredibly tragic. No one should risk their lives while trying to support themselves and their families. And yet, many construction laborers face workplace dangers daily in their line of work. In 2016 alone, 71 construction workers were killed on the job in New York State, according to the latest NYCOSH report on New York occupational fatalities. Hundreds more were seriously injured as a result of construction site falls, machinery accidents, and other work-related accidents. Unfortunately, forklift-related deaths in the construction industry are not uncommon. Last month, a Long Island City worker was also caught between a forklift and a vehicle and died as a result of crush injuries.
Our hearts go out to the loved ones of Jorge Castaneda and other workers who lost their lives on the job. We offer our deepest condolences.
In this particular event, more investigation is needed to determine the cause of the accident, but from preliminary reports, it appears that there was an issue with the forklift product, maintenance, or operation. Important questions to consider include:
- Were the scaffolding pipes safely arranged on the forklift?
- Was the load stable and centered as much as possible?
- Did the pipes exceed the weight limit?
- Was the vehicle properly maintained?
- Had the forklift been properly inspected before usage?
- Were the employees operating the forklift provided with adequate training?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets safety guidelines for forklift (powered industrial truck) usage. If these regulations are not strictly adhered to, workers can be severely injured or even die in a forklift-related accident, as evidenced by Saturday’s tragic story.
Forklifts must be properly maintained and operated by a trained worker. This includes managing the way loads are secured onto the forklift. If loads are off-center or above the weight limit, they can ultimately cause the forklift to tip over. Other factors may contribute to a forklift tipping over, and more investigation is needed to determine the exact cause of the tipover that killed Castaneda.
If you or someone you love has been harmed in a forklift accident, you can discuss your legal rights today by contacting the Law Firm of Block O’Toole & Murphy.
The personal injury attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy are experienced in litigating work accident and wrongful death lawsuits, including those that involve heavy machinery. Notable results for forklift injury victims include:
- $3,258,000 Jury Verdict for a worker hit by a forklift in upper Manhattan
- $3,175,000 Settlement for a truck driver hurt in a Queens forklift accident
- And many more Construction Accident Verdicts and Settlements
Our lawyers have dedicated their careers to fighting for the rights of accident victims. Many of them are active members of the NYSTLA (New York State Trial Lawyers Association) Labor Law Committee, a group that fights to preserve and enact laws that protect worker safety. Partner Daniel O’Toole serves as the committee’s Co-Chairman.
Speak with a Block O’Toole & Murphy lawyer today by calling 212-736-5300.