A Cayman Islands Port Authority mechanic who was repairing a forklift lost his left arm in an accident at the authority’s cargo distribution centre Tuesday.
The 45-year-old man underwent surgery at George Town hospital, and was airlifted to Miami for further care. It was unknown at press time whether doctors would be able to reattach the man’s arm.
His condition was said to be stable Tuesday afternoon, but paramedics who attended the accident scene described a grisly, tearing injury to the man’s left bicep.
The Department of Employment Relations Occupational Safety and Health office was dispatched to investigate the accident. Rohan Marshall with the OSH said it appeared the front lift section of the machine had somehow hit the mechanic’s arm.
‘He was actually doing proper and authorised maintenance on the machine at the time,’ Mr. Marshall said. ‘The procedures (being used) are still up in the air.’
This is not the first accident involving a forklift at the port’s cargo centre this year.
In February, 43-year-old security guard Samuel Dofredo was struck and killed by a forklift at the cargo distribution centre. That accident was investigated and it was later determined that it occurred in a designated heavy equipment work zone.
Questions concerning why Mr. Dofredo, as a security guard, was in that work zone have never been answered.
Mr. Marshall said the Occupational Safety and Health office recommended some safety-related changes to the cargo centre work site after Mr. Dofredo’s death. He said the port cargo centre is in the process of implementing them.
‘The port has made steps to address their safety needs, but as with any port – depending on the magnitude and size – accidents will occur,’ he said.
‘Back in February we said ‘look, you don’t have any maintenance records, you’re not bringing your machines out of service,” Mr. Marshall said. ‘Now they’re doing exactly that and this instance occurred. So we have to look at how these people are servicing the machines.’
The forklift involved in Tuesday’s accident was not the same machine that struck Mr. Dofredo, according to OSH.
Port Authority Deputy Director Clement Reid said the agency regretted the accident and promised the authority would do everything it could to assist the man during his recovery.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is also investigating the accident.