A 30 year-old male sanitation assistant (the victim) was crushed by the hydraulically powered tailgate of a garbage truck while unloading garbage at a county landfill. The truck operator and the victim had just finished unloading their garbage truck, lowered the tailgate to the 3/4 closed position and had cleaned the tailgate latching screws. Before the tailgate was fully lowered, the operator alerted the victim, by saying "stand clear" and the victim responded accordingly. The tailgate was then lowered by the operator using controls on the driver's side of the truck, out of sight from the victim on the opposite side of the truck. When the operator walked to the passenger side for a final check, he found the victim lying on the ground with significant head injuries. His head had been caught between the frame of the truck and the tailgate as it was closing. The operator and a bulldozer operator called 911 for assistance. The County Sheriff, his deputy, and ambulance personnel arrived at the scene within minutes. The county medical examiner was notified, responded, and pronounced the man dead at the scene. The truck was found to be in normal operating order. A discarded fishing pole was found inside the garbage compartment of the truck, and it is possible that the victim was trying to retrieve this item immediately prior to getting caught. Recommendations based on our investigation are as follows: 1. Safety work practices should be re-emphasized with all employees, and in particular, with part-time employees. 2. Employers should ensure that a job safety analysis has been performed on all work-related tasks.
Region-7; 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; Trucking; Sanitation-engineering; Waste-disposal; Waste-disposal-systems