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Special-needs sanitation route helper caught in tailgate of waste collection truck.

Iowa Department of Public 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 10IA005, 2012 Oct; :1-10
A 51-year-old sanitation route helper was injured when he was caught in the tailgate of a rear loader trash collection truck in early 2010. The victim exited the truck cab to close an overhead door of the regional recycling center (also operated by the victim's employer) after he and the driver had emptied a load of cardboard. The driver pulled out of the building with the truck's tailgate partly lowered to clear the doorway. He parked the truck and exited the cab to manually secure the tailgate in closed position using levers located on the outside of the driver's side of the truck. The victim, who was out of sight of the driver, spotted cardboard that had not completely cleared the tailgate area and attempted to pull it free at the same time the driver was lowering the tailgate. When the driver realized the tailgate was not closing properly, he raised it and discovered the victim had been caught between the lowered tailgate and the body of truck. Employees assisted the conscious victim to the office and drove him to a local hospital. He was transferred by helicopter to a regional medical center and died the following evening. After the fatality and prior to the Iowa FACE investigation, the employer proactively identified and implemented Recommendations 1 through 6 below to protect employees. RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. Demarcate restricted areas to keep all persons a safe distance from moving trucks and unloading activities. 2. Designate trained spotters to direct drivers in all truck movement when entering, unloading, and exiting facilities where employees or bystanders may be present. 3. Train all drivers - of both company trucks and non-company commercial vehicles involved in loading and unloading of materials - on the employer's safety policy regarding the use of spotters and truck traffic. Train all drivers to stop their vehicle when visual contact with the spotter is lost. 4. Require all employees and visitors to wear high-visibility vests or shirts in truck traffic and unloading areas. 5. Specify that only drivers are authorized to unsecure tailgate latches and operate tailgate mechanisms. 6. Require drivers to follow defined protocols for removing lodged materials from truck bodies or hoppers. These include using tailgate props to secure the tailgate in a supported open position, and shutting off the ignition and pocketing keys prior to clearing the tailgate or rear body of the truck. 7. Develop and implement specialized accommodations and training programs in businesses to support safety and health professionals, training specialists, employers of and employees with disabilities.
Region-7; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Safety-education; Safety-engineering; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Training; Work-practices; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Motor-vehicles
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-10IA005; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008460; B20130124
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Iowa Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division