A 29-year-old male factory worker (the victim) died after his head became caught at the point where an overhead chain conveyor made contact with an idler, or pinwheel, that allowed the conveyor to make a 90-degree turn. The conveyor was over seven feet above the floor, but the victim, who was 6'7" tall, was standing on a platform that enabled him to reach the hooks on the conveyor to hang transformer canisters for delivery to a paint booth. No one saw the victim get caught at the nip point, but his supervisor heard him call out and immediately pushed the emergency stop button. Because there was no way to reverse the conveyor, a welder was brought from another area of the plant to cut it in order to extricate the victim. In the meantime, emergency medical services (EMS) had been called; they arrived in less than two minutes. The victim was transported to a local hospital, and later transferred to a regional trauma center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m. In order to prevent similar incidents, the KY FACE investigator recommends that:
- employers should ensure that platforms allowing workers to reach overhead conveyors (i.e., work zones) are a safe distance away from ingoing nip points;
- guarding should be placed around ingoing nip points;
- trainers should never leave new employees unobserved in hazardous areas;
- employers should develop, implement and enforce comprehensive written safety programs; and,
- all workers should be trained to recognize and avoid hazards in the workplace.
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Factory Worker Caught in Overhead Conveyor While Hanging Transformers" (1998). Fatality Case Reports--Other. 19.