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Security guard drove golf cart into open pit

Date of incident: April 2015
Notice of incident number: 2015108620025
Employers: Security services company; forest products company

Incident summary
A security guard was working at a sawmill. Near midnight, he left the security office and drove across the road in a golf cart to a separate section of the mill known as the scow (barge) loading area to check on a location where hot work had been performed earlier in the day. The security guard was returning to the security office when he drove the golf cart into an open pit. He was pinned under the golf cart and sustained serious injuries.

Investigation conclusions

  • Unguarded and unmarked pit: The security guard drove a golf cart into an open pit that was unmarked and unguarded. This pit was typically covered by wood chips.

Underlying factors

  • Security guard’s actions: The security guard drove the golf cart across the public street into the scow loading area. This was contrary to his instructions.
  • Poor visibility: The environmental conditions, including the darkness and the rain on the windshield, made visibility very poor, and the worker did not see the pit. The poor visibility through the plastic windshield of the golf cart and the lack of windshield wipers contributed to the worker’s inability to see the pit.
  • Lack of effective safety supervision: The worker’s supervisors were not fulfilling their responsibilities under the company’s safety program. The worker’s employer did not manage its supervisors to ensure they fulfilled their responsibilities. The forest products company did not fulfill its responsibility as prime contractor to ensure that the security guard was aware of workplace hazards, including the unguarded pit, and that any procedures pertaining to the use of golf carts were obeyed by all workers on the site.
  • Health and safety programs not effectively implemented: Although the prime contractor’s health and safety program required that records be kept for worker training and orientations, this was not done. Records of crew safety meetings were also not available or kept. The lack of these records demonstrates that the prime contractor’s program was not fully or effectively implemented. The health and safety program of the worker’s employer required similar record keeping that was not done. There were no records of the security guard’s training and orientation and no regular inspections or safety meetings. These critical components of an effective health and safety program were not implemented.

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Publication Date: Dec 2017 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2015108620025