Inadequate Terrain Preparation Leads to a Forklift Accident

This case study explores a severe injury incident involving an extended-reach forklift during a tree removal operation, highlighting the alleged failure of property owners to ensure adequate terrain preparation.

ByZach Barreto


Published on February 6, 2024

Forklift at timber factory

Case Overview

A contract employee sustained severe, permanent injuries while operating an extended-reach forklift in this case summary. The task at hand was the removal of a large palm tree from a property.

During the operation, the forklift lost balance and rolled over due to alleged inadequate terrain preparation by the property owners. This unfortunate event raises critical questions about liability and safety standards in extended-reach forklift operations.

Questions to the Safety expert and their responses


Please describe your professional experience with extended-reach forklift safety and operations.

I have over 30 years of hands-on experience operating cranes, forklifts, and other rough terrain and extended boom machinery.

Throughout my career, I have worked with companies that sell, service, and rent construction equipment like forklifts and cranes. Furthermore, I have extensive knowledge of the preparation of lift plans, rigging techniques, and site preparation.


How can similar incidents be prevented?

When considering the machine involved is a Telescopic Handler, it would be governed by OSHA regulations 29 CFR 1910.178 and ANSI regulations B56.6. These regulations provide comprehensive guidelines on safe operation practices, including crucial aspects like terrain preparation and stability.


Have you previously reviewed a similar case? If yes, please elaborate.

Yes, I have reviewed several cases involving extended reach forklift accidents. However, each case presents distinct circumstances and must be evaluated individually based on its specifics and available records.

About the expert

This expert brings over three decades of experience in occupational safety and health, with specific expertise in both general industry and construction industries. They have a distinguished background as a certified OSHA authorized trainer and have held significant roles such as shop supervisor for a crane company and branch manager at an equipment company. Currently, they leverage their extensive knowledge to serve as a safety consultant and trainer at an occupational safety service.

Expert headshot



About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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