This Alert described six fatal incidents involving moving refuse collection vehicles and offered recommendations for preventing such incidents. Between 1980 and 1992, 450 workers aged 16 or older died in incidents related to refuse collection. Of these, 303 (67%) were vehicle related deaths, 110 occurring when the worker slipped or fell from a refuse collection vehicle, was struck or run over by the vehicle, or fell and was struck or run over by the refuse collection vehicle. Eighteen percent occurred while the refuse collection truck was backing up. Safety procedures include maintaining visual contact between the driver and workers on foot, checking both side mirrors repeatedly when backing, using a reliable spotter positioned to see both driver and any blind spots when backing, using standard hand signals when backing, stopping the truck if the spotter must change positions, immediately stopping the maneuver if visual contact with the spotter is lost, and remaining clear of the rear of the vehicle when the back up lights are on or alarm is sounding. The fatal accidents described suggested that workers and employers may not be fully aware of or may have become complacent about the hazards of riding on and working near moving refuse collection vehicles. Recommendations are offered concerning safe riding procedures, safe backing procedures, safety equipment, riding facilities, and the guarding of equipment.
NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-110, 12 pages, 11 references