Last week, a worker was killed in a landfill accident near Miami Township. The worker was operating a Komatsu D65 Bulldozer in an attempt to pull an excavator out of the pit, using the tow strap. According to the sheriff’s report, the tow strap snapped, which caused the rope to whip around and wrap itself around the bulldozer. The strap struck the worker on the side of his head and he was pronounced dead on the scene.
How Can Workers Stay Safe at Landfills?
Landfills have contractors, self-haul vehicles, commercial trucks and thousands of pounds of potentially hazardous waste materials unloaded at the landfill every day. It can be a chaotic work place with heavy equipment, like tractors and bulldozers, with a lot of traffic going in and out. However, landfills are not inherently dangerous places to work – not when the proper steps are taken.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, making landfills a safe place to work is simply a matter of understanding potential safety hazards and addressing them before a landfill accident occurs. Landfill owners or operators should create a safety program that includes the following:
- Inspect incoming loads and record the results
- Train all works to recognize potentially dangerous materials
- Maintain all equipment on site (in this case, bulldozers)
- Use caution when driving a bulldozer up a landfill slope
- The fill should be regularly compacted to avoid collapsible mounds
- Have spotters stationed to recognize potential safety concerns
Personnel training and machine maintenance are extremely important at landfills. Employers must keep workers informed of constant potential dangers, how to avoid them and what to do in the case of an accident. Being surrounded by hazardous waste materials, such as battery acid, can corrode the equipment and cause accidents. Employers must replace and maintain equipment regularly.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC is an Ohio workers’ compensation law firm that fights for victims who have been injured on the job.