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DHR - SAFETY ALERT MEMO 01-02

DATE: June 27, 2001

INCIDENT TYPE: Personal Injury

LOCATION: District 4

TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Organizing guardrail posts in a covered dumpster

THE ACCIDENT: On June 27, 2001 at approximately 8:00 a.m. a Caltrans Equipment Operator I was injured as he attempted to arrange used guardrail posts that had been discarded into a dumpster. The rental dumpster had a hydraulically operated cover with safety chains. It appears that the employee unfamiliar with the equipment did not fasten the lockout chains. The lid held up by hydraulic pressure began to come down while the employee was in the dumpster. The employee tried to get out but the lid caught his ankle. Fortunately, the employee escaped with only pain, bruising, and the need for therapy.

CONCLUSIONS: The Caltrans Injury and Illness Prevention Program mandates that supervisors ensure that employees are trained and competent before assigning them tasks. All employees required to operate any type of owned, borrowed, or rented, equipment must be trained in its safe operation.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Supervisors must ensure that employees are trained on all new equipment and use an effective Lockout/Tagout program where needed. The work area must be surveyed as to what equipment needs to be included in the program, and any equipment that harbors possible injury from potential energy or moving parts during its use or maintenance is guarded or locked out. Guards, blocks, locks, safety chains, or other forms of safety devices shall be used when and where required and shall not be removed except by the employee who placed the device or at his/her direction. A section on Lockout/Tagout should be made a part of the Code of Safe Work Practices for any particular machine or device. Chapter 11 of the Department's Safety Manual contains guidelines for writing Codes of Safe Work Practices.

HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OF SAFETY AND HEALTH SERVICES (916) 227-2640

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