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Workplace Injury Alert

Winter 2012


We are committed to helping our policyholders and their employees work safely on the job. As a service to our customers, we want to alert you to several catastrophic injuries reported to IWIF during the past few months. In addition, we want to share general guidelines to prevent these types of accidents from happening at your workplace.

Please share these injury alerts with your employees during a Toolbox Talk or safety meeting. Our hope is that sharing these alerts will emotionally remind workers of the important and basic message that workplace safety saves lives.

The following are just a sampling of recent severe injuries reported to IWIF and are summarized as a general advisory only. Some of these exposures may or may not be applicable to your workplace.

Metal worker/laborer falls from ladder
Welder/laborer suffers facial burns
Cook falls feet first into deep fat fryer
Worker backed over by dumpster delivery truck
Worker/actor falls 8 feet into orchestra pit


Metal worker/laborer falls from ladder


A laborer was working up on a ladder attempting to install a louver box. While installing the screws, the worker lost their balance and fell 12 feet, landing on their feet. The injured worker was transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma unit where the worker underwent surgery to repair heel fractures in both feet.

Prevention guidelines:

  • Train workers to first examine the elevated exposure and work required to ascertain if a ladder can be used safely. Oftentimes, a ladder is the wrong tool to use to perform the elevated job safely in the first place. Particularly if both hands are required for lifting, supporting or using materials or tools.

  • Consider using a scissor lift, elevated work platform or scaffold to ensure the trained worker has a more secure elevated working position.

  • These workers must be trained in all aspects of safe use of ladders:
    • OSHA General Duty Clause 5 (a) 1(a) Each employer-

      1. shall furnish to each of his/her employees a place of employment which is free from
          recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to
          his/her employees;

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Welder/laborer suffers facial burns

A welder/laborer was welding a pipe to a tank that contained acidic/caustic substances. The pipe burst, causing the caustic material to hit the worker in the face and head. The injured worker was transported to and treated at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Bayview Burn Center. As a result of the accident, the injured worker sustained burns to the face, head and eyes.

Prevention guideline:

  • Insist that cutters or welders and their supervisors are suitably trained in the safe operation of their welding equipment and the safe use of the welding process.

  • Know what is inside of any vessel or pipe that could be flammable, explosive, caustic, poisonous, and/or under pressure.

  • If the pipe/vessel to be welded is/was under pressure, it must be de-energized before proceeding with the welding.

  • Never assume that a container and pipe(s) that have held combustibles/toxins is clean and safe until proven so by proper tests.

  • Once depressurized and locked off from the source material, it may become necessary to purge, flush, or ventilate the pipes and connecting tanks as necessary to eliminate or control atmospheric hazards.

  • Welders must wear an OSHA-approved welding face shield or helmet, gloves, protective footwear, apron or coat.

  • Welders must be trained in all aspects of safety:

Cook falls feet first into deep fat fryer

A restaurant cook, climbed and stood up on the fryer/counter to attempt to clean the back wall and filters above the deep fat fryers. While standing over the fryer, the cook slipped and both feet went into the hot deep fat fryer. The injured cook was transported to the Johns Hopkins Hospital Bayview Burn Center and was treated for first, and second-degree burns to both feet.

Prevention guideline:

  • Instruct designated kitchen staff in all aspects of the safe use and cleaning of deep fat fryers.

  • Employees should stand on the kitchen floor while cleaning walls and overhead range hoods

  • Never climb onto the top of kitchen surfaces surrounding hot deep fat fryers or any hot surfaces.

  • Clean walls, surfaces and vents only when the deep fat fryers are turned off and the cooking oil is allowed to cool. The fryers should then be covered to avoid being splashed and subsequently burned from any dropped cleaning materials into the fry bins.

  • http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/youth/restaurant/cooking.html
    • OSHA General Duty Clause 5 (a) 1(a) Each employer shall furnish to each of his/her employees a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his/her employees;

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Worker backed over by dumpster delivery truck

A worker was in the process of giving directions to a co-worker who was backing up a dumpster delivery truck when the worker was struck and pinned under the truck tires. The worker was taken to Shock Trauma and was treated for severe injuries to both legs including one foot that had to be amputated.

Prevention guideline:

  • Train “workers/spotters” in all aspects of safely standing and signaling a vehicle driver that is attempting to back up a vehicle. Spotters should know the vehicle’s “blind spots” and never stand too close to or directly behind a vehicle or out of view of the driver.

  • Driver and spotter should do a thorough walk around of the backing area and inspect for any limitations, obstacles or unsafe conditions.

  • Back up alarms on trucks should be operational.

  • High visibility reflective vests should be worn, especially during dawn, dusk and nighttime operations.

  • These workers must be trained to understand these regulations:
    • OSHA General Duty Clause 5 (a) 1(a) Each employer shall furnish to each of his/her employees a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his/her employees.

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Worker/actor falls 8 feet into orchestra pit

An actor, rehearsing on stage suddenly slipped and fell fell eight feet down into the orchestra pit. The injured worker was flown to Shock Trauma and was diagnosed with a spinal dislocation fracture and at this time is paralyzed.

Prevention guideline:

  • Although a theatrical stage is not a common workplace exposure, it is classified as an open-sided floor. Every open-sided floor or platform 4 feet or more above adjacent floor or ground level shall be guarded with a secure railing or-
     
  • Proper installation of an “orchestra safety net” is also recommended.

  • Workers, actors and musicians on stage should wear the appropriate slip resistant foot wear when near unprotected floor edges.

  • Stage floors should be treated or maintained with a high-traction surface.

  • OSHA Regulations:  
    • Personal safety nets must meet ANSI Standard A10.11

    • 1910.21-30 Walking and Working Surfaces http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9713
    • OSHA General Duty Clause 5 (a) 1(a) Each employer shall furnish to each of his/her employees a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his/her employees.

       


This alert is an advisory only. The injuries described here and the prevention guidelines are general in nature and may not cover all details of the incident or specific safety information. It may not list all advisory hazards. IWIF assumes no responsibility for identification or correction of conditions identified as hazardous. Safety and health remain your responsibility.



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