OSHA Begins Investigating Death of Golden Valley Menards Forklift Worker
A family is mourning after an employee at the Golden Valley Menards was killed Thursday morning in a forklift accident.
Relatives told other media outlets that the victim is 19-year-old James Stanback, a recent graduate of Patrick Henry High School. He was killed Thursday morning in the outdoor lumber yard when a pallet of lumber fell onto the forklift he was driving.
The Golden Valley Menards delayed its opening until noon Friday out of respect for the victim and his family.
A sign posted outside of the store indicated to customers that the decision to open later than normal was to properly mourn his passing.
Officials with the company say the incident on Thursday happened around 10 a.m.
Surveillance video released by the company shows the forklift lifting a pile of lumber before the accident occurred. A representative from the company said that the victim had only worked at the store for about a month, but he was certified to operate the forklift.
Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott released a statement saying, “We are a small family here at Golden Valley and we are all in shock. Our thoughts and prayers are with our Teammate’s family.”
OSHA opens investigation
Meanwhile, James Honerman, communications director of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, said that Minnesota OSHA responded to the accident and opened its investigation on Friday.
Honerman said the department will inspect work areas for safety or health hazards, try to determine what caused or contributed to the accidents and review whether existing OSHA standards were violated.
During the scope of an investigation, the OSHA investigator will observe safety and health conditions and practices, consult with employees privately, take photos and review past records to review what types of safety and health training was provided to the employees.
Minnesota OSHA enforces 1910.178. Operator training is under section 1910.178(l) which includes: safe operation, training program implementation, training program content, refresher training, avoidance of duplicative training, certification, dates and an appendix that provides non-mandatory guidance to assist employers.
Honerman says he didn’t see any OSHA inspections in the past five years at the Golden Valley location.