Careless forklift driver brings down the warehouse - video

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70 Responses to “Careless forklift driver brings down the warehouse - video”

  1. Paul Turnbull says:

    The warehouse and forklift experienced people can clarify something for me. There are a number of comments saying the shelves should have been bolted to the floor but what about the ceiling?

    I would think a tall heavily laden set of shelves could easily rip out floor bolts once it started tipping. If it was also bolted to the ceiling wouldn’t that go a long way towards stopping domino effects?

    • randalll says:

      Most warehouse ceilings are as flimsy as they can possibly be built. I don’t think bolting it to the ceiling would do much more than cause a hole in the roof to go with the toppled racks. Honestly, as was said above, toppling these things is pretty hard to do if they’re made the way they’re supposed to and not overloaded. There had to have been multiple points of failure here.

    • gollux says:

      For something to topple, the center of gravity has to fall outside its base. With it bolted down and properly reinforced, it would sway and scare the crap out of you unless there was structural failure which in this case, one leg was destroyed. Even in that instance, only the first bay should have partially collapsed.

      First rule in earthquake country is to firmly tie it to the foundation.

  2. Anonymous says:

    i dumped a pallet of driveway sealer in a home depot once. Hard to beat that for nasty fork lift mistakes, but i think this tops it. I was not fired.

  3. Freddie Freelance says:

    Another Certified Forklift driver here (Ca. & Il. certified on Gas & Electric Counterballance fork & clamp trucks, Straddle Reach trucks, “Man Up” trucks, Pallet Jacks, and Pick Tuggers), and a former warehouseman for Sears Logistics Services, and those pallet racks only had minimal cross bracing; maybe enough for empty bottles, but definitely not enough if they were expected to hold pallet loads of full glass bottles. The fork that comes in from the right is a Komatsu Gas Counterballance truck, which shouldn’t be used inside (due to Carbon Monoxide production by gas engines) but isn’t too big, and the fork that crashed was a much bigger Gas or Diesel Counterballance truck which is probably used to load & unload stacked pallets from trailers and definitely shouldn’t be used inside.

    Those gas trucks need to have the engine revved to raise or lower the forks, and they have a clutch in the brake to allow you to do that: you push the brake all the way down to engage the clutch, hit the gas, and pull on the lift lever to take the forks off the ground; this guy started the fork, put it into reverse to back up, forgot to press the brake to engage the clutch, and hit the gas hard to raise the forks quickly, which made him shoot back quickly, which knocked out the support leg of the racking, and the rest is obvious.

    And this video is comedy according to the classic equation “Tragedy plus Distance equals Comedy.”

  4. Anonymous says:

    No doubt in my mind the rack was over loaded. Its hard to rell, but looks like 3-1/4”x2” column, from the way it bent i would say 14ga. 16ga braces @ 48” brace panels. Probably 1-9/16”x4” box beams; and if the frames are 14ga, chances are the beams are 16ga.
    Frames dont give like that, not even bolt it frames, unless you overload. And with the max limit, there still is @ 1000 lbs extra to that; so yes, he was way over loaded on each pallet position. I also wonder if the foot plates were bolted properly to the floor, or at all. Seems too much weight on the top pallet positions as well (the top looked like it came over). Chances are he was using bad skids (wood pallets) as well. From what i saw, it was inevitable; Bumping the column when load / unload would have done it as well. Just a matter of time. Thank God Canada has RMI standards.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Paul Turnbull:
    Only real side motion danger is in quake zones; then you have to use a different footplate (bolted on either side of rack instead of in front). The beams are made with (2) brackets (one welded on each side), usualy 7”-9”long. When cliped and bolted to the frame, they make the frame almost square, and limit side to side movement, especialy when you load it. in between each frame a “rowspacer / wallspacer” is used basicly a steel stopper inbetween two frames / frame and wall to prevent that as well. This guy did not have any of that. Whats funny is i know a company that sold a bunch or Rack to Russia couple of years ago; if anyone knows what type of racking that is (or the manufacture name) please post.

  6. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Yeah, but did they get the prophecy?

  7. Value Pack says:

    My friend working at a Trader Joe’s nicked a wine display with a motorized dolly. Nothing fell over, but then a tinkling sound like splintering ice began. Within seconds, every bottle on the endcap shattered. It was cheap wine, fortunately, but the floor looked like the scene of a massacre.

    He didn’t lose his job!

  8. chgoliz says:

    Thanks, Freddie @ #43. I re-watched the video based on your info and how it happened makes sense now.

  9. Duffong says:

    They were just digging for the good stuff

  10. The Chemist says:

    Somebody is sooooo fired.

    One another note, anyone reading this ever working in one of these warehouses? Is there like a weight limit or something that might have been ignored with the shelves? I can’t shake the feeling that these shelf units suffered from a lack of structural redundancy.

    …But then, I’m not a stockpile engineer, I just play one on TV.

    • AirPillo says:

      One another note, anyone reading this ever working in one of these warehouses? Is there like a weight limit or something that might have been ignored with the shelves? I can’t shake the feeling that these shelf units suffered from a lack of structural redundancy.

      I don’t know if the shelves are overloaded but a forklift crashing could probably do that much damage even if they weren’t.

      The one at my former workplace was smaller than these ones look, and weighed 4.5 tons (though it’s also older and built like a tank). Low-speed forklift crashes still have a hell of a lot of inertia and he crashed it at a pretty fast speed by forklift standards. He did an awful lot of damage to that shelving to make it fall.

      • demidan says:

        E=MC2, Yeah those forklifts are monsters they could drive through a brick wall like it was made of paper.

        • danlalan says:

          E=MC2 or F=MA?

          • Moriarty says:

            I think what you want is p=mv. Though its not just the momentum of the forklift that makes it dangerous, it’s also the enormous power behind it. And the fact that it’s got giant steel spears sticking out the front.

            My forklift accident anecdote was witnessing at close range a carelessly driven forklift vs. a parked Honda Civic. No contest!

          • danlalan says:

            or maybe even KE=1/2MV^2…but I doubt a mass energy equivalence played much of a part here.

    • xaxa says:

      There is a weight limit for this kind of shelving (you can see for yourself if you look in any warehouse-like DIY store, I’ve noticed warnings on every shelf like “max 400kg”).

      However, I have no idea how stable it is, overloaded or not.

  11. Alfie says:

    The Huffington post reported on this earlier.. Yikes! $150K!

    “A fork lift driver in Moscow was sampling too much of his own product when he drunkenly plowed his vehicle into the stock shelves of vodka and cognac in the storeroom where he worked. The result was a spectacular crash in which $150,000 worth of liquor rained down around him. Amazingly, he escaped with nothing but a leg injury. We doubt he can say the same for his job.”

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/02/epic-forklift-crash-in-mo_n_341960.html

  12. NeilFraser says:

    No no no! Don’t blame/fire/laugh at the fork lift truck driver. The primary issue is the design of the shelves. They should not fail in a cascading manner. Given enough time some trigger will inevitably present itself, and the result was very expensive.

  13. Avram / Moderator says:

    This page says yes, it was vodka, and it was a Russian warehouse, and nobody was seriously hurt.

  14. Michael Smith says:

    A couple of years ago I was driving through an industrial estate. The buildings on the left were higher than the road and on the right it was a bit lower. Suddenly this forklift reversed at high speed out of a driveway on the left. The guy at the controls was bouncing around and he couldn’t reach the brake. It crossed the road, bounced over the kerb, over another kerb in a car park and stopped suddenly as the driver reached the brake.

    It must have missed me by a few metres.

  15. Zergonapal says:

    The bracing for the shelves was almost non existant, its a wonder that it hadn’t happened before.
    Thats the reason why we have solid steel struts in Australia.

  16. schr0559 says:

    Gabelstaplerfahrer Klaus at least kept his wares safe, if not his coworkers:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-hz1GpFpXA

  17. holtt says:

    Another former forklift person here.

    I helped do bottling at a small winery once some time back. We all got a bit tipsy as we all had a glass handy as we filled.

    Then someone goes, “OK now we need to move this huge pallet of cases of wine. Who can drive a forklift?” Drunkenly I raised my hand, and then proceeded to do the most precise, slow motion, double/triple/quadruple check every motion and pedal forklift driving job of my entire life.

    Wine was successfully moved without incident, but the thought of destroying a small winery’s entire season of Cab still terrifies me to this day…

  18. Anonymous says:

    AirPillo — you’re right on.

    I apologize in advance for sounding like a care troll, but these videos just aren’t very funny if you’ve ever worked in an industrial environment. Everybody posts these videos, not realizing how enormously heavy and powerful a forklift really is. There are states that require training before someone can drive a forklift, and a lot more insurance companies that require it…because a mistake can be (and often is) fatal.

    I lost a good friend in a forklift accident…somehow sending my condolences to his wife and three gorgeous little daughters (all under 10) takes the humour out of this.

  19. schmod says:

    I’m no forklift driver, although I do spend a reasonable amount of time in warehouses.

    Like others have mentioned here, the shelving was clearly substandard. Although forklifts are heavy, and the guy was clearly driving way too fast, that sort of shelving is purposefully designed to withstand such a collision!

    Secondly, that’s one messy warehouse to begin with. No warehouse that I know of would tolerate crap in the aisles like that!

  20. caffeine addict says:

    I’ve seen racking get hit by a Mercedes Sprinter (a Freightliner to you Americans) and it bends and moans but doesn’t collapse. But then it was bolted to the ground…

    • dculberson says:

      These forklifts probably weigh more than a Sprinter. They are very, very heavy. But yeah, I kind of doubt these were put together as well as they should have been. We had an incident where someone hit our pallet racking at the old warehouse, and it bent a post and moved it a bit – no more. They weren’t moving this fast, though.

  21. twibbit says:

    Buster Keaton is probably grinning in his grave. Actually, no, he probably isn’t, what with him being dead and having a stone face. But he would have probably appreciated this.

  22. Anonymous says:

    As a youngster I worked for a company that produced cuttlery. Each palett around 250 to 500 cases of 72 pieces, roughly 0.5 to 1.2 tons.
    They had a small warehouse ajoined to production, the racks took 2 paletts side by side, just 4 or 5 compartments high, so all about 6-8 tonns per vertical compartment… And they gave me the keys to the forklift ;-)

    The rack was bolted to the ground with about four 30cm long and 2-3 cm thick anchors at each post. You weren’t able to just ‘kick’ it down like in the vid.

    None the less I nearly caused a catastrophy, I got ‘cought’ with the tipps of the fork beneeth the horizontal steelbar of a compartment when trying to get a palett…. I should have wondered why it seemed so heavy, instead gave more ‘pull’ so nearly tipped the topmost 2 paletts with their whole compartment (Would have crashed coworkers…. uups) I noticed it the last second… so nothing ahppened

  23. EH says:

    “My bad.”

  24. Anonymous says:

    Poor Klaus.

  25. dacian says:

    it’s funny how you always call people gentlemen. gentleman who is careless with his forklift. a drunk gentleman. the gentleman was caught in the act and arrested for ‘supposedly’ murdering 3 people.

    truth is- he DID bring down the warehouse like a fucking gentleman.

  26. dbarak says:

    Friggin’ teamsters…

  27. ackpht says:

    Just another case of owners making things as cheap as they can get away with. Happens everywhere.

    Kinetic energy (k=mv**2)would only be conserved if this had been an elastic collision (forklift bounces off of rack with no damage to either). Clearly this didn’t happen. However, momentum would be conserved (p=mv), and the momentum of the forklift (substantial because they’re very heavy) was converted into displacement and distortion of the shelf structure. Gravity did the rest.

  28. Anonymous says:

    talk about bringing down the (ware)house…
    …yes i know

  29. Crispinus211 says:

    I like how the driver of list #2 scoots the hell out of there at 0:40 or so.

    And the cloud of fumes at 0:21 gives me pause. Not that US OSHA standards are as protective as they might be, but, still! I’m glad we have them.

  30. efalk says:

    People complain about it, but OSHA exists for a reason.

  31. Anonymous says:

    @dacian – I’m sure a few playwrights have written about it (but I can’t google a quote) – in good comedy the fall guy has dignity.
    I can’t see the “gentleman”s dignity from this distance in the video, but the understatement in the description made the payoff even richer. :-B

  32. JeffF says:

    I drove a forklift in a pickle factory one summer.

    Mostly did outside work, lifting and dumping salt into the pickle vats (and grossly exceeding the safe high lift limit… not my idea).

    Nearly cut a hole through a building once because of the high lift, luckily the tank I was dumping into was mostly full of salt and made of plastic so it just kind of bent in until I was 20 or 30 degrees from vertical leaning on the salt. If there were no salt I would have knifed right through the tank and probably the building behind into the (hopefully empty) break room that was there… unless the salt came out of the bucket at some point in which case I probably would have tipped back up.

    Another time I was driving across a (incredibly revolting food waste) spill going quite slowly (walking speed) because it looked kind of slippery. That turned out to be too fast and I spent some time slowly spinning and sliding till I hit another tank, luckily back first so my forks didn’t punch a hole in it.

    Finally I got stuck on some train tracks once. Yea, flat wheeled forklifts don’t do gravel. The tracks were in the factory though, so the only danger there was that I could possibly have damaged the forklift (though they are quite tough) and proved myself a fool. Had to be pulled off by a bigger forklift.

    A couple times I was assigned to inside warehouse work because they were short real forklift drivers… those drivers had skill. Working outside I got to be fairly good at picking up and putting down loads in awkward places, but they were going at least three times as fast as me in those tight confines. It was terrifying.

    The good news is I don’t drive forklifts anymore.

    Oh, and I got to use a jackhammer there too! Without incident. :)

    Heh, and to realize the true power of machinery. As busy work one time I was sent out to break down a small reinforced cinder block wall with a sledge. Spent two or three hours taking a 2ft square bite out of it. Then they found some real work they wanted me to do and one of the foremen came over with a forklift with some big beat up fork sheath things apparently used for ramming on it and knocked the wall to rubble in a couple minutes.

  33. Anonymous says:

    This is not an accident. It’s clear from this video that there were explosives planted in the shelves beforehand. No steel-framed shelving in history has ever collapsed solely due to inertial damage from a forklift. Inside job.

  34. alisong76 says:

    Needs moar Yackety Sax.

  35. Brainspore says:

    A Russian guy buried in an avalanche of vodka? Reminds me of the old joke about the Irishman who drowned after falling into a vat at the Guinness plant. They tried to save him, but he kept fighting them off…

  36. Carrie says:

    I drove fork-lift for a living about 15 years ago. While I would say the driver in this video was careless, those shelves fell way to easily, almost as if it was a set up. Especially seeing how well framed the video was. (Framed, get it?)

  37. mgfarrelly says:

    I worked in a warehouse for a candle company in college. Floor to ceiling stacked with boxes of those big, heavy glass candles. Beside the smell, which was so sickly sweet it gave everyone a headache for their first month or so, the boxes were pretty terrifying when they came off the shelves on accident.

    Picture a box weighing about 250 pounds filled with shrapnel made up of hardened wax wrapped in cheap. If it didn’t hit you square on, the “blast radius” from those boxes could cut you up but good.

    The place hired pretty much everyone to work stock during the holidays (which ran from August to January due to shipping). None of those people were supposed to run loaders or climb shelves. So of course the managers had them doing it all the time.

    Those loaders have little to no control backing up. The “gas” (they’re electric) and brake going backwards are not nearly as accurate as going forwards. What would normally send you a could feet one way, sends you careening backwards. Add in the fact that most people got training that consisted of “Ever driven a golf cart? Cool. It’s like that” (it’s not)..

    The one upside of the job was I have very little tolerance for workplace nonsense. If a job isn’t safe, I leave. Seeing people seriously hurt by lack of safety standards and poor management, only to be blamed, fired and even sued by the company that failed to train them, was life-changing.

    I just hope this poor guy was ok. Sorry to ramble, but I watched that and thought of how that driver’s whole life could be destroyed for a slip on the pedal. Sadness.

    • gollux says:

      If that was in the US, OSHA would have shut them down in a heartbeat if they caught wind of it. I had an acquaintance who provided forklift training to meet the rules and do the followup refreshers. Certain violations will shut you down, and there’s a lot of empirical statistics (crushed, maimed dead bodies) backing the rules…

      Forklifts are really heavy for a reason, it serves as a counter balance against all that weight you’re lifting (toppling is a major concern if you don’t know load handling). So a minor love tap from one of them carries a lot of momentum and does a lot of damage.

      The shelving was obviously substandard for the loading, and not properly bolted to the floor.

  38. Jeeb says:

    As a certified forklift operator who has worked in warehouses all my life, I can say these racks were definitely not stable to begin with. I have seen many drivers hit racking and banged a few myself. While he does hit the first side REALLY hard, the ease with which the other side fell tells me there are no doubt structural problems and they are probably overloaded.
    I never thought my extensive forklift experience would come in handy in a discussion here, but there you go!

  39. Anonymous says:

    In Soviet Russia, forklift crashes YOU.

    Someone was bound to say it anyways. Sorry.

  40. angryhippo says:

    I think I died a little inside while watching that…

  41. Anonymous says:

    With how easily these racks came down it would appear that some safety/capacity issues were ignored. Pallet rack beams and uprights are rated for certain capacities. If the beams are too far apart, as it appears here, the upright capacity diminishes greatly. This is why it is essential to have professional pallet rack installers do the work. We used this company who explained all of this to us, http://www.edwardsstorage.com

  42. the Other michael says:

    ’cause the BB is more of a jack-hammer place, if you know what I mean*

    *and I hope you do, because I sure don’t….

  43. Anonymous says:

    and when they found him, they killed him.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Hilarity “ha-ha” or hilarity “oh shit I hope nobody is hurt/dead/dying buried under a 20 foot pile of boxes and broken glass.”?

    I have read the driver escaped with just a leg injury. Nonetheless, I still think it’s rather cold to approach the situation as an Americas funniest home videos moment.

    Is this the same pack of monkeys that was foaming at the teeth last week calling anyone who didn’t agree that chps have feelings a worthless dog?

    • danlalan says:

      I have read the driver escaped with just a leg injury. Nonetheless, I still think it’s rather cold to approach the situation as an Americas funniest home videos moment.

      Here on planet earth, we often laugh at each other and when we hurt ourselves doing something stupid and/or inept. Welcome.

  45. rastronomicals says:

    Not that I didn’t laugh, or believe that the driver was blameless, but this almost had to be an installation problem with the racking.

    I don’t drive a forklift but I sell to people who employ people who do. One of the products I sell is pallet rack beam protectors, the idea being protect your racking from damage by installing a protector along the outside radius of the beam.

    The sales pitch is how the protector takes the hit rather than the beam. You thus prevent pallet rack damage that can add up over the years, and can eventually make it unusable. The assumption being made is that careless drivers hit pallet rack beams with their forklifts all the time, but most (all?) of the time you get nothing more serious than a dent.

    Of course this is in the US. If Russia has anything equivalent to OSHA, I would doubt they are as stringent.

    I might even guess that the racking hadn’t been bolted to the floor the way the opposing unit collapsed.

  46. igpajo says:

    I have to agree with #11 and #31 and say I don’t see the humor in this. People could have died because of that little slip on the peddle. How is that funny? Or do you mean funny in the same way a youtube video of a pedestrian getting hit by a car is funny?

  47. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t do it!

  48. The Life Of Bryan says:

    Many years ago I had a graphics shop located in the mezzanine of my business partner’s glassware decorating warehouse. When I stepped out of my office onto the landing at the top of the stairs, there were four commercial kilns directly beneath me. (If I had the A/C cranked and left the door open I could actually kinda sorta make weather.)

    I’d gotten my roommate a job there helping with production. The glassware was cooled on rolling shelves similar to what bakers use. On the day in question three or four shelves were loaded up with shot glasses. He hit one shelf with the forklift, and just like those little swinging ball desk toys, the energy was transferred from one closely spaced rack to another, until, a split second later, a few hundred shot glasses were dramatically ejected from the last rack onto the warehouse floor. There were very few survivors. It took him a few paychecks to finish paying for that little incident.

  49. Tgg161 says:

    I drove a forklift in Shenmue a few years ago. It didn’t seem that hard.

  50. Darren Garrison says:

    Poor Klaus. Thought he could make a new start in Russia.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tqd4aPs5WTA

  51. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Kudos to his co-workers for reacting so quickly. With no thought of their own safety in the unstable environment they rush to the forklift driver’s rescue.

  52. Anonymous says:

    “Well, I can drive that loader. I have a Class 2 rating.”

  53. ZippySpincycle says:

    I’ve never driven a forklift. Somehow, I never would have thought myself to be in a minority on that.

  54. Anonymous says:

    @Tgg161: Driving a forklift *isn’t* hard. Driving it safely is. I’ve seen a man driving a lift outside on uneven dirt with his 3 year old girl in his lap. I’ve seen a man driving with his forks up high break off a natural gas pipe to a heater and then ride the forks up with a fire extinguisher to put it out. The man who taught me forklift safety accidentally backed into a 20 foot high stack of 2 foot square particle board bases and knocked them down.

    People get reckless in forklifts just like in cars.

  55. randalll says:

    A forklift hitting a shelving unit at that speed would topple just about any of them. However, I’m guessing the domino effect was created by not bolting the shelves to the floor. I’ve seen lots of warehouses with lax standards for that kind of thing, just figuring the forklift drivers just need to be careful. It’s kind of crazy that bolting the racking to the floor is considered an extraneous expense.

    Also, lots of people die tragically from gunshot wounds but it’s still funny when some drunken idiot shoots off his toe. It’s called context.

  56. gollux says:

    And speaking of heavy, a heavy-lift helicopter company down the runway uses a 5 ton as a sort of dyno test for their freshly repaired helicopters. Kind of neat seeing the helicopter hovering there, turbines screaming as it attempts to lift the forklift and give it a moving experience. Erickson Skycranes could just fly off with it dangling below…

  57. cmuwriter says:

    In college I worked for Fabiano Brothers, a beer, wine and liquor distributor in Mount Pleasant, Michigan for nearly four years to pay my way through college. That building and the shelves look EXACTLY like Fabs. I drove a fork truck and I can tell you I’ve bumped into shelving units like that, and bent the railings, but they never fell. Then again I wasn’t going to fast enough like that guy in the video. It seems to me he punched it going in reverse, like he thought it was in forward (there is just a lever for forward and reverse) and he hit the gas and went backward instead. I’ve done that a few times myself. I’m glad he’s alright though.

  58. danlalan says:

    Oh? Why is that?

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