High potential near miss – storage box dropped from forklift

What happened?

A storage box weighing approximately 770kg fell 4m from the forks of a forklift truck.  The incident occurred when storage boxes containing items of equipment located on an intermediate floor at a supply base were being lifted from the level using a forklift truck.  This near miss was categorised as a high potential event.

What went wrong?

Investigation has identified the storage box was not lifted correctly; it was not lifted from the captive pockets.  If the captive pockets had been used, the bottom edge of the box should make contact with the fork itself, preventing tipping forward from the forks.  The ‘captive pockets’ can be seen in the right-hand photograph below, and also in the extreme right of the photograph above (circled).

Showing incorrect box orientation with non-captive pockets presented.
Showing correct box orientation with captive pockets presented.

What were the causes?

Poor communication: the above was identified and followed on all the previous box retrievals.  However, this was not communicated to new personnel joining the task which led to the (dropped) box being lifted from the non-captive pockets.

What are the lessons learnt?

  • Review instructions on how items are identified, weighed, stored and handled;
  • The lifting location of this box type should be clearly marked and visible from ground level.