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Sixty-five-year-old jockey dies after being thrown from his mount in the starting gate - USVI.

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 2007-04, 2009 Oct; :1-6
On February 18, 2007, a 65-year-old male jockey (the victim) died after being thrown from his mount in the starting gate during the start of a race. The victim and his mount were being led into the eighth stall of an eight-stall mobile starting gate. As this was being done, the horse in the fifth stall of the starting gate reared up and struck the door of the starting gate. All eight stall gates opened simultaneously. A review of a videotape of the start of the race indicated that the victim had not completely settled onto his mount when the horse in the fifth stall broke for the start of the race. The victim was thrown backward and seemed to hit his head on the back door of the gate stall. Since the horses would have to pass the location of the starting gate to complete the race, the starting gate had been hooked to a tractor for quick removal from the track. When the tractor operator saw the horses break from the starting gate, he began to pull the starting gate from the track. When other track workers saw the horse without its rider, they signaled for the tractor operator to stop. The starting gate, which had been pulled up onto the trunk of the jockey, was pushed backward. Rescue personnel stationed in an ambulance at the track responded immediately. The victim was transported to the hospital where he died in surgery approximately four hours after the incident. It could not be determined whether the starting gate had opened due to the horse bolting against the gate in the fifth stall, or due to being opened by the starting gate operator. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, track operators should: 1.) Designate sufficient spotters located at the front and rear areas of both sides of the starting gate to ensure that all horses and their riders have cleared the starting gate area prior to moving the starting gate in any direction. 2.) Establish a preventive maintenance program for the track's starting gate that would require periodic inspection, pre-race testing, and maintenance of the gate's hydraulic system to ensure proper function. 3.) Consider evaluating equipment such as starting gates to ensure that jockeys and horses are provided a safe work environment. 4.) Ensure that jockeys wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as helmets and vests that are properly fitted and in good condition.
Region-1; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-safety-programs; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Traumatic-injuries; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-clothing; Work-operations; Work-performance; Work-practices; Animals; Equipment-design; Equipment-reliability; Surveillance
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division