Special-needs sanitation route helper caught in tailgate of waste collection truck

Iowa Case Report: 10IA005
Report Date: October 10, 2012

The following report is the product of our Cooperative State partner and is presented here in its original unedited form from the state. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


A 51-year-old sanitation route helper was injured when he was caught in the tailgate of a rear loader trash collection truck in early 2010. The victim exited the truck cab to close an overhead door of the regional recycling center (also operated by the victim’s employer) after he and the driver had emptied a load of cardboard. The driver pulled out of the building with the truck’s tailgate partly lowered to clear the doorway. He parked the truck and exited the cab to manually secure the tailgate in closed position using levers located on the outside of the driver’s side of the truck. The victim, who was out of sight of the driver, spotted cardboard that had not completely cleared the tailgate area and attempted to pull it free at the same time the driver was lowering the tailgate. When the driver realized the tailgate was not closing properly, he raised it and discovered the victim had been caught between the lowered tailgate and the body of truck. Employees assisted the conscious victim to the office and drove him to a local hospital. He was transferred by helicopter to a regional medical center and died the following evening.

Special-needs sanitation route helper caught in tailgate of waste collection truckpdf icon [PDF 754 KB]

Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015