SAN FRANCISCO - Both the owner and manager of San Francisco lumber supply company have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and safety violations after an employee was crushed by a forklift in 2016.
Alfred Lee, owner of Good View Roofing and Building Supply Corp., and Alan Chan, manager, were charged May 1 with the death of 60-year-old forklift driver Hua Quing Ruan. Each faces one count of involuntary manslaughter and three counts of causing an unsafe work environment resulting in death.
Ruan was killed in November 2016 when his forklift tipped over at the bottom of a ramp leading from the company's loading dock. Ruan had been driving down the ramp and his forklift was loaded with a bag of mortar mix on a wooden pallet. He was preparing to load into a customer's car. The bag fell off at the bottom of the ramp, blocking his front wheel, said OSHA.
Ruan attempted to back up, but rolled off the ramp. Realizing his forklift was tilting over, Ruan attempted to jump to safety but was too late, and was crushed. He was pronounced dead soon after.
OSHA said Ruan was not wearing a seatbelt, which was a factor. He was also not certified to operate the forklift. The ramp was found to be in violation of workplace regulations because it did not have a proper curb installed.
“When employers take workplace safety shortcuts, it’s employees that suffer,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “Life is far too precious to dispense with fundamental safety requirements.”
Both Lee and Chan are scheduled to appear in court June 5. Lee has appealed the violations.
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