The family of a material handler crushed to death under a cargo lift at the FedEx world hub in Memphis, Tennessee, has filed a lawsuit against two suppliers alleging equipment the companies supplied lacked effective safety mechanisms to protect workers, according to the Daily Memphian. The lawsuit was filed Nov. 22 in Shelby County Circuit Court and names JBT Aerotech of Chicago and Fast Global Solutions of Glenwood, Minnesota.
The accident occurred when Ellen Gladney, 60, was caught beneath the cargo lift as her crew prepared to unload a Boeing 777F. Gladney’s job that day was to carry the hand-held controller for the lift, which was attached to the deck by a cord, and monitor the lift as it moved toward the plane. According to the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA), Gladney was run over by the auxiliary lift and dragged about 80 feet before other workers noticed her missing.
JBT Aerotech claims it furnished an emergency stop system that would prevent the lift platform from striking the airplane. But the lawsuit claims that the emergency stop system was located in a place that required the monitor – in this case, Gladney – to walk in front of the moving lift to where she would not be seen by the lift operator.
Fast Global Solutions, the other company named in the case, provided the auxiliary lift deck that was in use during Gladney’s fatal accident. But, the lawsuit states, it lacked safeguards, like a fender that would have prevented Gladney from being run over by the deck.
Gladney’s death was the third on-the-job fatality of a material handler at the FedEx hub in four years. On July 2, 2014, 19-year-old Chandler Warren, a material handler, was crushed by a cargo lift supplied by BJT Aerotech. On Nov. 22, 2015, Christopher Higginbotham, a 39-year-old cargo tug operator, was crushed by a loaded dolly he was towing. Warren’s family reached a confidential settlement with JBT Aerotech. Higginbotham’s family’s lawsuit is pending.
FedEx is not named in the lawsuits because the company is protected by Tennessee’s workers’ compensation law, which limits companies’ liability in paying a death benefit to certain survivors.
Source: Daily Memphian