Remember Jordan

1986 – 2003

A young man's story propels awareness of vehicle recovery safety

Jordan’s story is unforgettable. And that’s the point. Jordan Roppel was 18 years old and less than two months on the job at a perforating manufacturing plant in Standard, Alta., when the Toyota forklift he was operating got stuck in soft mud. What happened next is something that’s common in the oil and gas industry: workers decided to tow out the lift.

The site’s lead hand drove his truck over to pull out the forklift. He attached a hoisting sling to a chain. A general helper secured an additional web sling to the other end of the chain and then over the truck’s hitch ball.

The lead hand got in the truck, while Jordan remained on the forklift. The lead hand drove the truck forward. The forklift didn’t move. The lead hand reversed the truck a few feet and then accelerated forward. Once, twice, three times . . .

On the final pull, the explosive force of the shock load snapped the hitch ball off and sent it flying at the speed of a bullet. Jordan died at the scene.

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