City sanitation refuse truck driver struck-by motorist – North Carolina
NIOSH FACE Report 2022-01
April 24, 2023
On July 20, 2020, at 11:38 am, a 55-year-old city sanitation refuse truck driver was struck-by a motorist. The refuse truck driver was loading trash along with a sanitation technician on a small business sanitation route with roughly 80 customers. The incident occurred on a 4-lane median divided road in an urban business area. The speed limit posted on the roadway was 45 mph. The city sanitation refuse truck driver was at the back driver side of the refuse truck loading trash along with a sanitation technician who was positioned at the back passenger side of the truck at the time of the incident. A male motorist in his mid-60s did not brake or change lanes away from the refuse truck and collided with the refuse truck, pinning the sanitation refuse truck driver. The sanitation refuse truck driver was transported to the hospital where he later died as a result of his crushing injuries.
Key contributing factors:
- sanitation worker position in relation to traffic flow
- motorist travel position, speed, and inattention
NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:
- select refuse equipment that reduces struck-by injury hazards for employees
- educate and train employees on risks associated with working on roadways with motorists and the importance of maintaining heightened situational awareness
- ensure workers and equipment are visible to motorists
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an institute within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. In 1982, NIOSH initiated the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. FACE examines the circumstances of targeted causes of traumatic occupational fatalities so that safety professionals, researchers, employers, trainers, and workers can learn from these incidents. The primary goal of these investigations is for NIOSH to make recommendations to prevent similar occurrences. These NIOSH investigations are intended to reduce or prevent occupational deaths and are completely separate from the rulemaking, enforcement and inspection activities of any other federal or state agency. Under the FACE program, NIOSH investigators interview persons with knowledge of the incident and review available records to develop a description of the conditions and circumstances leading to the deaths in order to provide a context for the agency’s recommendations. The NIOSH summary of these conditions and circumstances in its reports is not intended as a legal statement of facts. This summary, as well as the conclusions and recommendations made by NIOSH, should not be used for the purpose of litigation or the adjudication of any claim. For further information, visit the program website at www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/ or call toll free at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).