California Wastewater Employee Accidents: Part 3

In the final blog post of this series, we’ll look at a few more incidents that show how quickly things can go wrong in seemingly routine situations.

Slipping out for a Bite

Two employees using a Hydro-Vac sewer cleaning truck worked past the lunch hour to get a job done and stopped on the way back to the company yard to get carryout food. When the worker on the passenger side exited the cab with the bag of food in one hand, he twisted around to grab a handrail with the other. As he turned, his foot slipped off the first of three narrow steps that formed a ladder down the side of the truck. He fell 35” to the ground fracturing his right elbow and bruising his face.

Takeaway: A fall of less than three feet hospitalized this worker. Failure to follow the “three points of contact rule” as he climbed down from the truck may have played a role in this accident. Ensuring workers have the time to take regularly scheduled breaks may help them feel less rushed, reducing the risk of accidents.

An ATV Ride Ends Badly

An employee was riding on the left rear fender of an all-terrain vehicle that was towing a bucket truck used to clean sewer lines. As ATV and bucket truck crossed a small canyon, they formed a sharp V with each other and the employee was crushed between the vehicles. She suffered fractured ribs and was hospitalized.

Takeaway: Moving vehicles that are connected may form an unexpected pinch point with a great deal of force when traveling over uneven terrain. Even on straight roadways, employees should never sit anywhere but in an approved seat.

Bouncing Down the Hill

An employee was setting out traffic horses during the installation of a sanitary sewer. The worksite was on a steep hill. The worker lost his footing and fell downhill into the trench. He landed on his right shoulder and bounced off an existing water line before falling to the bottom of the trench. He was hospitalized for a dislocated collarbone, broken shoulder blade, facial bruises, and cracked ribs.

Takeaway: The depth of a trench itself is only one factor that makes it hazardous. The grade of the surface leading down to the trench increases the risks of a fall, and protrusions in the trench can cause additional injuries on the way down.

What steps are you taking to review routine safety precautions and prevent injuries? DKF Solutions can help by bringing a fresh perspective to your safety program.