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Worker struck in head by improperly rigged waste tipper

Date of incident: October 2016
Notice of incident number: 2016171900073
Employer: Waste management and recycling company

Incident summary
At a recycling plant, organic waste containers were being moved using a portable hydraulic tote tipper (referred to as a tipper — a device for emptying waste containers into a large bin). The tipper fell off the loading dock where it was stationed. Three workers attempted to lift the tipper back up onto the loading dock using a telehandler and a chain. A worker was beside the tipper, guiding it as it was being lifted. The tipper's base struck the top edge of the loading dock. The chain came loose from the tipper, and the tipper fell onto the worker, striking his head. The worker sustained a serious head injury.

Investigation conclusions

Cause

  • Improper rigging used to lift tote tipper. The tipper was improperly rigged by the workers in their attempt to lift it back onto the dock using a telehandler. A chain with a damaged slip hook was used to wrap the mast of the tipper, and the hook was hooked back onto the chain wraps. When the chain went slack after the tipper struck the loading dock, the chain slipped through the hook and became detached from the mast of the tipper. The rigging failed during the lift, causing the tipper to fall and strike the worker. The worker sustained a serious head injury.

Contributing factors

  • Lack of worker training. The workers were not trained in proper rigging techniques, the correct rigging to use when lifting objects, or inspection of the rigging components. The incident was caused by improper rigging when lifting the tipper. The tipper falling off the dock was not a planned event, but the workers used the same chain to lift the tipper as had previously been used to move concrete blocks. The slip hooks were designed for lifting objects, such as the blocks, straight upward. Grab hooks should have been used for the way the chain was rigged. The employer did not verify that the workers were competent in proper rigging and lifting techniques, which would have identified the proper lifting devices, and the proper attachment of those lifting devices. As a result, improper rigging and lifting techniques were used, resulting in a serious worker injury.
  • Inadequate supervision. The supervision of the workers did not ensure that they were using proper rigging techniques or equipment to place the tipper back on the loading dock after it fell off, even though it had fallen off before. The workplace inspections conducted by the employer did not include inspection of the chain used by the workers. The chain hooks had been manufactured with safety latches on them, but the safety latch attachment point on both hooks was broken and could not be repaired. The fact that the chain hooks were faulty because of the missing safety latches was not understood by the employer. The rigging chain should have been removed from service when it became known the safety latches were broken. For this job, however, even if the safety latches had been in place, a chain with a grab hook rather than a slip hook would have been the correct chain to use for the type of lift the workers were doing.

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Publication Date: Feb 2020 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2016171900073