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Recycling packer dies after being crushed by a recycling ram in California.

Public Health Institute
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 95CA006, 1995 Oct; :1-5
A 26 year old, white, Hispanic male recycling packer (the victim) died after being crushed in a paper recycling bin by a recycling ram (crushing device) that exerts 118 tons of force. The interior dimensions of the bin were 70 1/2" high x 96" long x 48" wide. There were no witnesses to the incident and it is unknown why the victim was inside the recycling bin or how the ram was started. Approximately 15 minutes before the incident, the victim and a co-worker had been loading cardboard into the bin with a front end loader, working in a team according to company policy. The victim's co-worker left the area for several minutes to assist another worker and when he returned, less than ten minutes later, he discovered the victim crushed inside the bin. He immediately deactivated the ram by hitting the emergency shutoff button. The ram then returned to its fully retracted position. A second worker climbed into the bin and the victim asked him for help. Paramedics were summoned to the scene at 12:02 p.m., arrived four minutes later, and found the victim alert, but disoriented. He was transported to the hospital and suffered full arrest two minutes after leaving the site. The victim was pronounced dead at 12:27 p.m. On occasion, pieces of cardboard or other material would become lodged in the bin and it was standard practice to remove obstacles with a front end loader. It was not positively known whether the victim was in the bin trying to manually dislodge or retrieve material, but this is a possibility. The company had no effective lockout/tagout procedures and the main power source for the recycling bin was located in an area that was difficult to access. The CA/FACE investigator concluded that in order to prevent similar future occurrences, employers should: 1. develop and implement a lockout/tagout procedure for all employees who operate or maintain any type of industrial machinery. 2. assure that compactors are guarded by covers, deadman controls, or by any other means that prevent workers from coming into contact with an operating ram or that prevents the ram from operating whenever a worker enters the travel zone of the ram. 3. develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive, written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) that includes, but is not limited to, training in proper procedures for all employees who operate or maintain industrial machinery. 4. conduct periodic work-site surveys to assess the setting for potential safety hazards and institute corrective actions when hazards are identified. 5. train all workers in safe emergency rescue procedures that do not put rescuers at risk of injury.
Region-9; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Training; Machine-guarding; Machine-operators
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-95CA006; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-907284
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division