Saunders hadn’t been at the job for long. For training, he’d been made to watch an instructional video, given a paper test, and observed driving. The day of the accident, he was lifting a load of 16-foot lumber that had been stored on a high bunk, possibly 10 to 14 feet tall, according to yard workers. The forklift began to tip over, Saunders leapt out, and was crushed by his machine.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is still investigating how the accident happened and whether it could have been prevented. But as news of Saunders’ death spread through Menards’ ranks, one worker reached out to City Pages to say Menards workers complained for years that the company’s forklifts are too small for the loads they carry.
The worker, who asked not to be named for fear of being fired, says most Menards forklifts typically have a weight capacity of 5,000 pounds, but that limit is not supposed to be lifted all the way up.