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Municipal utility worker falls while clearing a clog in a conveyor chute.

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 99NJ108, 2000 Aug; :1-8
On December 24, 1999, a 39-year-old municipal utility worker was killed when he fell from a hopper while trying to unclog a sludge conveyor chute. The incident occurred in the dryer area of a sewage treatment plant where sewage sludge is dried to a powder. The damp powdered sludge was being conveyed out of the dryer and into a hopper that directed it down through a fabric tube (sock) to a large Dumpster. Due to the freezing temperatures that morning, the sludge had clogged the sock and backed up into the screw conveyor. A co-worker lifted the victim up to the hopper on a forklift where he stepped onto the hopper and tried to clear the clog with a shovel handle. After working on the machine for several minutes, the co-worker heard the victim yell before he fell from the hopper and struck his head against the side of the Dumpster. NJDHSS FACE investigators recommend the following safety guidelines for preventing future incidents: 1. Employers must provide a suitable working platform or a personal fall protection system when employees are working at heights greater than six feet. 2. Employers should develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive forklift training and safety program. 3. Employers should develop and implement written standard procedures for the operation and maintenance of the sludge dryer. 4. Employers should conduct a job hazard analysis of all work activities with the participation of the workers. 5. Employers should develop and implement a comprehensive employee training and safety program.
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; Work-performance; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Safety-programs; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-health-programs; Occupational-safety-programs; Sewer-cleaning; Sewage-treatment; Sewage-industry
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-99NJ108; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-207088
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