A waste collection worker was run over and killed by his own truck earlier this year because his employer failed to ensure the truck’s safety restraint was in working order and that it was being used by workers driving from the right-hand side of the truck.

That’s the conclusion of a Cal/OSHA investigation into March 2 incident in San Jose that claimed the life of a GreenWaste Recovery employee. The worker was driving a waste collection truck, operating the truck from the right-hand side when he made a turn, fell out and was run over.

A part was missing

Cal/OSHA’s inspection determined that the waste collection truck had a safety chain for the truck cab opening that could not be used because a part was missing.  

“Collection vehicles with the option to operate the truck from the right-hand side must be equipped with an occupant restraint system such as a door, locking or latching bar, safety chain or strap,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “To prevent serious and fatal injuries, employers must maintain occupant restraints in working order and ensure the restraints are used by workers.”  

A history of worker injuries

Cal/OSHA issued two general and two serious accident-related citations totaling $46,270 in proposed penalties to GreenWaste Recovery. The serious accident-related citations were issued for the employer’s failure to ensure that occupant restraints were being used by workers driving from the right-hand side of the truck and failure to identify and evaluate the unsafe work practice of workers not using occupant restraints. In addition, the employer received two general citations for not maintaining vehicle safety equipment. Cal/OSHA conducted inspections of GreenWaste Recovery involving three separate worker injuries in 2016 and 2017. Over the last three years, Cal/OSHA has opened at least 186 inspections with solid waste collection and material recovery employers. Those inspections include a fatal incident last year in La Jolla when a waste collection worker was crushed by his unsecured truck that rolled forward and pinned him against a wall