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Forklift operator killed in Murrieta rollover accident

Seemingly routine work at a construction site may be interrupted by tragedy as heavy equipment is in use. A recent event in Southern California highlights the inherent risks that workers may face at a construction site. Uneven, or unsteady, ground may have been involved in a tragic forklift accident last week.

An early morning accident at a construction site in Murrieta, California claimed the life of a forklift operator last Monday. The industrial accident was reported around 6:30 in the morning as a large industrial forklift operator was moving equipment at the construction site. Murrieta Police believe that the forklift operator encountered some uneven ground, causing the forklift to lose stability. The equipment rocked, eventually rolling over into a trench.

Police say that it appears that the worker tried to jump from the rocking forklift as the unit tipped. However, a sergeant with the Murrieta Police force says that the 38-year-old forklift operator was not able to clear the rolling machine. Authorities say that it appears co-workers attempted to free the construction site accident victim.

The forklift had rolled into the trench, landing nearly upside, pinning the forklift operator underneath.

Authorities say that a bridge construction project was underway near the site of the fatal work accident. It is not clear what relationship the forklift operator had to the overall construction project, nor is it clear from media reports what type of equipment the man was attempting to move when the equipment became unstable near the trench.

The Murrieta Fire Chief says that no other workers were injured in the industrial accident. Safety officials from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health were notified of the tragedy. Representatives from Cal-OSHA and the county coroner joined first responders and a trauma intervention team at the scene of the fatal accident.

Source: U-T San Diego, “Construction worker killed in forklift rollover,” Tom Sheridan, May 13, 2013; SWRNN, “Murrieta: Construction worker killed in industrial accident identified,” Kerri S. Mabee, May 13, 2013

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