Property Maintenance Worker Caught between Industrial Sweeper and Low Ceiling—Massachusetts
Massachusetts Case Report: 18MA035
Release Date: August 13, 2021
On July 2, 2018, a 57-year-old property maintenance worker was killed while operating a ride-on industrial sweeper. He was using the sweeper to clean a parking garage. While backing the sweeper in an area with a low ceiling, he became caught between the sweeper and the ceiling. The victim was eventually discovered unresponsive by a resident of the apartment building who placed a call for emergency medical services (EMS). The man had suffered blunt trauma to his head and neck and was pronounced dead at a local trauma center.
Key contributing factors identified in this investigation include:
- Accessible areas with low height clearance;
- Absence of a protective cab on the sweeper; and
- Lack of a comprehensive safety and health program.
The Massachusetts FACE Program concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:
- Ensure that ride-on equipment without a protective cab are not operated in the vicinity of overhead obstructions.
- Ensure that a job hazard analysis is performed for each task assigned to employees.
- Develop and implement a comprehensive safety and health program that addresses hazard recognition, avoidance of unsafe conditions, and proper use of equipment.
In addition, equipment manufacturers should:
- Adopt and implement the concept of Prevention through Design (PtD) to identify potential hazards associated with equipment and then eliminate these hazards through design changes.