Supervisor Crushed Under Falling Wall Partitions

While attempting to support a load weighing in excess of 450 kilograms (1,000 pounds), a supervisor in a pre-manufactured home plant sustained a serious head injury. Assisted by two employees who were trying to retrieve the fifth wall partition from a stack leaning against a wall, they gradually leaned one at a time toward the supervisor who was attempting to support them. In the process, he lost his grip, could not escape and became pinned under the walls. He was taken to the hospital, where he died a month later.

WorkSafeNB's investigation revealed the following:

  • The supervisor was wearing a hard hat at the time of the incident.
  • Employees did not have a good general understanding of the weights they were attempting to manually handle.
  • Small items of scrap may have caused the supervisor to slip while supporting the partitions.
  • It was not normal to have this many partitions stacked at one time.

Recommended Preventive Action

  • Materials and objects such as walls, windows and doors should be stored in racks or secured in a way to prevent them from injuring employees.
  • Employees should be made aware of the weight and push/pull forces that are required to manually handle objects.
  • The employer should develop a manual handling code of practice that reduces employee exposure to lift and push/pull forces over 23 kilograms (50 pounds).
  • The employer should monitor manual handling operations and provide appropriate training and equipment to reduce manual handling risks.

Reprinted April 2015

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