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Utilities worker dies after being pinned in a pulpwood belt conveyor at a paper company.

Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
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 97WI097, 1999 Jun; :1-4
On November 7, 1997, a 46-year-old male utilities worker (the victim) died after being pinned between a wall and chute frame of a belt conveyor at a paper company. The conveyor was part of a belt system used to carry waste wood chips and bark from a truck dumping site to a steam plant where the waste is burned. The conveyor started and stopped automatically as fuel was needed by the steam plant. The victim had apparently entered the enclosed area where the conveyor pulley was located to tighten the conveyor belt. This was a task he performed routinely while the conveyor was running. It appears the victim either stepped or fell onto an unguarded section of the moving conveyor. A co-worker found the victim after searching for him when he did not take his lunch break. When the co-worker entered the conveyor area, he saw the victim's body, pinned between a wall, the belt and the metal chute frame that extended over the belt. The belt was not moving, so the co-worker tried to free him. This caused the belt to move, so he stopped and used his radio phone to contact the control room to stop the belt. He also called for emergency medical services. The EMS first responder arrived in about one minute. Co-workers and EMS responders used a chain to lift the conveyor belt off the pinned portion of the victim's body, so he could be moved from the area. The coroner pronounced the victim dead at the scene. The FACE investigator concluded that, to prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Consider fitting belt conveyors with an mechanical, switch-activated conveyor management system that automatically adjusts belt tension and tracking. 2. Install guards on belt conveyors wherever personnel may have contact with the moving parts. 3. Ensure that lockout/tagout (LOTO) programs cover all workers while they perform adjustments that place them in contact with moving parts of operating equipment.
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; Machine-guarding; Machine-operation; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Paper-manufacturing-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-97WI097; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507081
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division