Group calls for justice for Menards worker killed as OSHA launches investigation

The sister of James Stanback holds a photo of her brother after the deadly accident at Menards on Thursday. (FOX 9)

For the second day, people demanding justice for James Stanback came out to the Golden Valley Menards to make their voices heard.

This comes as Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health opens an investigation into the 19-year-old's death.

Stanback was killed Thursday morning when a pallet of lumber fell onto the forklift he was using, leaving him pinned.

The recent graduate of Patrick Henry High School had just started working at the store. On Thursday, Mystaya Stanback told FOX 9 her little brother never mentioned being trained on how to use a forklift.

"He never came home and told us he had any training, no certification on the forklift...he just got hired here last month, and don't forklift training take a couple weeks?" said Stanback.

Minnesota OSHA records reveal no state inspections were done over the last five years at the Golden Valley Menards store.

They also show the company paid a $25,000 fine after an employee at their Burnsville store was killed in a similar accident on a forklift in May 2017.

Dennis Julison is an OSHA qualified forklift trainer, who says in Minnesota, people are required to take a four-hour class and pass an evaluation before operating a forklift.

"The number one hazard which causes a for fatality or serious injury on a forklift is a tip over on the equipment," said Julison.

He says that certification shouldn't be the end of training though, and companies shouldn't have employees operate them if the employees don't feel ready.

"I expect them...the company that they’re working for to continue on with (training) until they feel comfortable that they can drive that equipment," said Julison.

On Saturday morning, Menards spokesperson Jeff Abbott provided FOX 9 with a letter of achievement dated June 19th, 2021 that shows Stanback successfully completed Menards Forklift Training Program.

The document shows Stanback received a safety book and completed the following training items: forklift operator training video, OSHA introduction training video and electronically signed motorized equipment operations violations. The document also states Stanback successfully completed demonstration skills and passed the forklift test on LMS on June 19th, 2021 with a score of 94.29%.

Abbott also sent a sample training video from Yale Forklift Company that they use, but it's still unclear what the exact certification process is for employees and what safety precautions are in place for employees.

In the coming days and weeks, Minnesota OSHA investigators will inspect the Golden Valley Menards store to see if any safety standards were violated.

Stanback's family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.