May 13—Federal safety officials are investigating an incident in which a former Haverhill police officer suffered serious facial injuries in a forklift accident at Kazmiera Marina.
Officials from OSHA — the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration — are reviewing the accident that injured Brad Andrews, an employee of the marina.
Mayor James Fiorentini expressed his deepest sympathy for Andrews, who he said is a retired Haverhill police officer.
"I do not know Mr. Andrews personally, but I certainly extend my deepest sympathy to him on this terrible, painful and very serious injury," Fiorentini said. "The city and I personally wish him the best for a full and speedy recovery.
"I will be reaching out to him and his family to see if there is anything we can do to assist," the mayor said.
OSHA spokesman Edmund Fitzgerald said his agency began an investigation after it was notified about the incident, which happened May 1 at the marina. The marina is on Coffin Avenue, on the Haverhill side of the Groveland bridge.
OSHA investigations are designed to determine if workplace safety standards were violated.
Kazmiera owner Randall Bennett said the marina previously hired a safety company to review its policies and procedures for workplace and equipment safety.
"They certified all our staff on forklift operation and safety," he said.
Bennett said OSHA interviewed several employees of the marina and tested the forklift to make sure it was working properly.
"We believe that the forklift passed the tests," Bennett said.
Andrews has undergone a procedure at a Boston area hospital to treat his injuries, which include a broken jaw.
Bennett said Andrews was using a forklift to move a boat that was on a trailer. A trailer ball is attached to the forklift so it can pull trailers, Bennett said, similar to a ball on the rear of a pickup truck for towing.
He said Andrews moves boats in this way hundreds of times each year, and that two other employees were working as spotters to guide him.
Bennett said the forklift ball that was hooked to the boat trailer malfunctioned when the trailer was being moved. The trailer broke loose and rolled, he said,
"When the employee brought the fork truck to the front of the boat, he accidentally hit the boat with a mirror on the fork truck," Bennett said. "The mirror then hit him in the face and broke his jaw. He asked another employee to call 911 and the Fire Department arrived within minutes."
Bennett said a marina customer who happened to be an EMT was near the accident and immediately administered first aid, and then communicated with the 911 operator until firefighters arrived and took control of the situation.
Fire Chief Robert O'Brien said Andrews was face down on the ground when firefighters arrived. He was taken to Lawrence General Hospital and then Medflighted to a Boston area hospital, O'Brien said.
O'Brien said a fire engine, an ambulance and one other emergency vehicle responded to the call about the accident at 7:20 a.m. that day.