On a spring day in 2010, a 41 year-old male, solid waste collector, was riding in the hopper area of a solid waste truck when he fell out and struck his head on the pavement. He was riding in the hopper area because the step he usually rode, located at the rear driver side, was broken. Another worker rode the rear step on the passenger side of the vehicle, and a third worker, the driver, drove. After approaching a stop, the driver looked into the rearview mirror and saw the decedent on the pavement. The driver stopped the truck, and he and the other solid waste collector tried to assist the decedent. There was no cell phone service in the area so the driver drove the truck four miles to a store, and called emergency medical services and his supervisor. Emergency medical services arrived at the scene and transported the worker to the nearest trauma hospital where he died six days later.
To prevent future occurrences of similar incidents, the following recommendations have been made:
Recommendation No. 1: Municipal solid waste divisions should require drivers to perform daily post-trip safety checks on solid waste collection vehicles and timely repairs should be performed.
Recommendation No. 2: Municipal solid waste divisions should ensure that employees are never located on solid waste trucks’ rear riding steps when the trucks are traveling faster than 10 miles per hour or traveling more than 0.2 mile.
Recommendation No. 3: Municipal solid waste divisions should ensure that employees have access to a communication device that can be used during emergency situations.
Recommendation No. 4: Municipal solid waste divisions should perform job hazard analyses.
Recommendation No. 5: Municipal solid waste divisions should have a written worker safety program that includes safety training for employees.
Recommendation No. 6: Municipal solid waste divisions should provide an alcohol/ drug free workplace for employees.
Recommendation No. 7: Municipal solid waste divisions should consider the feasibility of implementing automated processes for solid waste collection.
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Municipal Solid Waste Collector Dies after Falling from Solid Waste Vehicle Hopper Area" (2011). Fatality Case Reports--Motor Vehicle. 16.