Winter 2013

Chesapeake Employers is committed to helping our policyholders and their employees work safely on the job. As an update service, we want to alert you to several severe injuries recently reported to Chesapeake Employers. In addition, we want to share general safety guidelines that may help prevent accidents like these 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 remind workers of the important message that workplace safety saves lives.

The accidents and injuries are summarized as a general advisory only. Some of these exposures may or may not be applicable to your workplace.

Remember the 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;

1.  Forklift rolls over worker’s foot and ankle, causing crushing injury followed by infection
A warehouse worker was standing behind a moving forklift when the forklift backed up, striking and then knocking the worker to the ground. The forklift rolled over the workers’ ankle and foot causing crushing injuries. The worker was first treated at a local hospital but then transferred to a trauma center to treat a severe infection of the ankle and foot.

General forklift safety guidelines:
  • Forklifts should only be used by an authorized and trained driver.

  • Make sure the forklift backup alarm is working.

  • Forklift drivers must stay alert and watch out for people, objects and hazards.

  • Drivers must pay extra attention and know what is behind you at all times when backing a forklift.

  • Pedestrians must at all times stay out of the path of a moving forklift.

  • Pedestrians should never assume that the forklift driver can see them.

  • For forklift driver’s safety guidelines see the OSHA industry standard 29 CFR 1910.178
2. Tree trimmer’s safety line breaks

A tree trimmer was trimming a tree when the worker’s safety line broke and the worker fell 50’ to the ground. The worker was transported to a local trauma center where the worker was treated for fractured ribs, compression vertebrae fractures and injuries to a number of internal organs.

General elevated tree work safety guidelines:

  • First, can the tree be safely accessed and trimmed by the worker using a bucket lift rather than having the worker climb the tree?

  • Always inspect all harnesses and climbing rigging, ropes and lanyards for damage. If equipment and ropes are damaged, tag and remove from service.

  • All climbing/elevated tree workers must wear a fall arrest harness and proper climbing ropes and safety lanyards.

  • Climbers and their climbing systems shall not make contact with moving or swinging parts of the limb loading rigging system (including the lowering rope) when the load is moving. This action may create unnecessary friction to the point the climbing rope and/or rigging rope could break. ANSI Z133-2012

3. Architect falls from ladder
During a construction roof inspection, an architect fell 20 feet from a ladder. The worker was transported to a local trauma center where the worker was treated for multiple fractures and a severe head injury. 

General safe ladder use and inspection guidelines:

  • Never overreach while working up on a ladder.
      Always use the 4-to-1 angle rule when setting up a ladder.

  • Always maintain 3-point contact on a ladder.
      (Two feet and a hand or two hands and a foot)

4. Worker falls through roof

A roofer was working on a roof that was in disrepair and, as the worker was taking construction material from a co-worker, the roofer fell through the roof, landing 20 feet below. The worker was transported to a local trauma center and treated for spinal vertebrae fractures and a fractured knee.

Roofing and elevated work general safety guidelines:

  • Workers working at an elevation 6’ or higher must be secured with a personal fall arrest system.

  • For fall protection standards, visit the OSHA website:

5. Worker falls from a large truck suffering a twisted ankle resulting in a severe infection to the ankle

An auto truck detailing employee was finishing work on a large truck and as the worker climbed down off the truck, the worker slipped, fell and got a foot and ankle caught and twisted in the wheel well. The injured worker was treated at a local hospital and then released. Unfortunately the ankle injury developed an infection. After unsuccessful treatment for the rapid infection at a local trauma center hospital the treating trauma team determined the patient would need to undergo a below the knee amputation.

General guidelines for workers to safely climb and descend large vehicles and machines

  • Only climb on vehicles and machinery that is stationary.

  • Always remember to maintain 3 points of contact when climbing:

      Example: Two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand.

  • Do not try to carry tools or equipment while climbing.

  • Use a tool belt or equipment lift bag or bucket.

  • Always face the vehicle or apparatus while climbing or descending.

  • Never jump off a vehicle.

  • Use portable stairs and ladders when necessary

  • Climb only on designated climbing areas. These include ladder rungs, steps, running boards and traction strips.

  • Do not climb on wheel wells, wheel hubs, bumpers or other vehicle sections not marked as a climbing area.

  • Slow down and never rush climbing or descending from a vehicle.

  • Resource: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act

This information and any noted recommendations are advisory only: Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Co. assumes no liability for identification or correction of conditions or hazards as the safety and health of employees remain the employer’s responsibility. Not all foreseeable hazards or conditions in need of correction, and not all possible controls to address them, may be listed. Use of all or part of this safety information does not relieve employers of their responsibility to comply with all current and applicable local, state and/or federal laws, regulations, and codes. While the information herein is believed to be current as of the date published, the reader should rely upon the most current standards as laws, codes, and regulations are updated frequently.

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