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Worker dies after being crushed by a soft drink palletizer lift.

Minnesota 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 96MN028, 1996 Jul; :1-7
A 42-year-old male industrial worker (the victim) died after being crushed by a soft drink palletizer lift. The palletizer fills pallets with cases of beverages. The palletizer's rollers and turn tables are equipped with photo-electric sensors that cause the palletizer to automatically shut down if a light beam is broken. The hazardous areas of the palletizer are positioned behind safety screens. Access to the hazardous areas of the palletizer was possible by use of an interlocking gate, located near the lift section of the palletizer. If the gate was opened during operation, the palletizer would automatically shut down. Access was also possible by removal of two safety chains across an opening located near the beginning of the palletizer process. At some point during the process, the palletizer shut down automatically. The victim investigated and discovered that a layer of cases had been deposited on a pallet, but the lift had not lowered it far enough for the next layer. He left the palletizer in the automatic mode, removed the safety chains, and climbed over the pallet conveyors to an area directly under the lift. The victim removed a piece of debris that had been blocking one of the photo-electric sensors and the lift immediately descended on top of him. A coworker discovered the victim and called a company emergency response team. A 911 call was placed and emergency medical personnel responded. The victim was removed from underneath the lift and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. MN FACE investigators concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. employers should ensure that employees access restricted production areas only by means of interlocking safety doors or gates; 2. employers should ensure employees shut down equipment when they need to access restricted hazardous production areas; and 3. employers should design, develop, and implement a comprehensive safety program.
Region-5; 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; Protective-equipment; Safety-programs; 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-96MN028; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507283
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Minnesota Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division