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Worker dies after forklift flips at Madison Valley construction site — UPDATE

A worker at a construction site died Monday morning, apparently crushed when a forklift unloading materials from a waiting truck flipped on the sloping pavement of E John at 26th.

Seattle Fire and police flooded the area around 26th and John around 10:45 AM for a heavy rescue response but the worker died at the scene.

The Department of Labor and Industries was being called to investigate the incident.

The corner of new construction was crowded with Seattle Fire trucks and police cars as concerned neighbors looked on and a television news helicopter circled above. The forklift remained resting on its side next to the covered body of the worker who died.

The property at 26th and John is being developed as townhouses by Chesledon Homes according to King County records.

E John was closed to traffic during the response.

UPDATE 5/16/18: The man who died has been identified as Ducas Aucoin, 59, of Monroe, Washington. The King County Medical Examiner determined his cause of death to be blunt force injury of neck.

According to a person with knowledge of the 26th and John work site, Aucoin was working for delivery company SiteOne and unloading landscaping stones when the forklift flipped. We have not yet heard back from the company about the incident. Last summer, a SiteOne worker died in an incident also involving a forklift unloading paving stone materials at a site in Livermore, California. That death was investigated by Cal/OSHA but we have not yet tracked down any conclusions from the case.

UPDATE 5/17/18: “We’re very sad about the passing of Mr. Aucoin,” a spokesperson for SiteOne tells CHS. “Our main priority right now is working with his family and financial and safety details.”

According to the representative, Aucoin had worked for the company for about a year and a half.

The representative declined to discuss last summer’s California death and said SiteOne is  working “with the appropriate authorities” following the 26th and John incident and “strives to continue to educate our associates” about safety.

UPDATE 5/18/18: Friends and loved ones are remembering Aucoin — calling him the “Mayor of Monroe — and helping his family with funeral costs:

We are reaching out to the community in support of the Aucoin family after the tragic death of their father and husband, Ducas Aucoin. For those of you did not know Ducas, he loved his family more than anything and was always the life of the party. Jody often referred to Ducas as the “Mayor of Monroe,” because he was loved by everyone. Ducas had the most unforgettable smile that lit up any room. He had a deep love for his family. His two daughters and his wife were his life, and he never went a day without telling them he loved them. His legacy will be one of laughter and love. Ducas leaves behind his wife Jody, and two daughters Tellis and Holland. Both of his daughters go to college out of state and want to be home for their father’s funeral. We are hoping to raise money for the family to help cover funeral costs, and living expenses. We want to support the Aucoin family in any way we can, and we hope that this can alleviate the unnecessary stress of an overwhelming financial burden.

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2 years ago

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often (or maybe it does). That section of John is quite steep (whereas 26th is flat) Fork Lifts don’t have outriggers. It doesn’t take a lot to make a forklift unstable. I hope some lessons are learned from this tragedy.

2 years ago
Reply to  JayH

Since there is a website for everything, I’ll answer my own speculation. The following is lifted from forkliftfails dot com.

There are roughly 85 forklift deaths and 34,900 serious injuries each year due to forklift accidents (data from 2007), according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
42% of the forklift fatalities are caused by forklift driver being crushed by a lift truck that tips.
The safest place for a forklift operator to be during an accident is strapped into the seat with their seatbelt fastened.
In the United States, approximately one person is killed in a forklift accident every 3 days on average. Most deaths occur when a forklift operator jumps from a lift truck that is rolling over.

2 years ago

Frightening and sad. Reminded me of a couple of summers long ago when I operated a forklift for a very large aerospace / manufacturing company (no, not the local one). I didn’t think about it at the time, but I received almost no training on properly operating that thing. Maybe 30 minutes tops. (I’m not suggesting the company’s safety / training program was at fault here.)