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DPW employee dies after falling off the trailer hitch of a leaf vacuum.

New Jersey Department of Health
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 03NJ100, 2005 Feb; :1-7
On November 25, 2003, a 38-year-old municipal Department of Public Works (DPW) employee was killed when he fell from a trailer hitch while riding a leaf vacuum that was being towed down a residential street. The victim and his co-worker were assigned to vacuum piles of loose leaves left by the side of the road by the residents of the town. The vacuum was a large, diesel-powered machine mounted on a trailer and towed by a DPW dump truck. The trailer hitch had been modified with a small, diamond-plate "seat" for the vacuum operator while moving between the leaf piles. The victim was sitting on this seat as the truck turned down a street and alongside cars that were parked on the side of the road. The large rubber vacuum hose that hung from the machine struck and damaged several of the cars. During the collision, the victim fell from the trailer, possibly while trying to hold or grab the loose hose. He fell to the roadway and was run over by the trailer. NJ FACE investigators recommend following these safety guidelines to prevent similar incidents: 1. Employers should follow the recommendations in the NIOSH Alert, Preventing Worker Injuries and Deaths From Moving Refuse Collection Vehicles. 2. Employers should ensure that all required safety, health, and maintenance procedures are followed. 3. Employers and employees should not modify machines unless a qualified engineer and/or machine manufacturer reviews and certifies the safety of the modification. 4. Employers should conduct a job hazard analysis of all work activities with the participation of the workers.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-2; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-operations; Machine-operation; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-03NJ100; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-207088; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008345
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
New Jersey Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division