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Human error mostly to blame for sanitation worker fatality: Illinois OSHA


Human error was largely to blame for the workplace death of an Illinois sanitation worker who was crushed by a garbage truck during trash pickup services in Springfield in October 2022, according to a report released Monday by the Illinois Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

The employee was pinned between a garbage truck and a brick fence column.

The state report highlighted three contributing factors to the incident: the truck driver didn’t receive required training on hand signals, the victim and driver used audible signals instead of visual signals to communicate, and both workers failed to maintain visual contact while the truck was moving.

Employers in similar situations should also consider equipping large work vehicles with camera systems to enhance driver situational awareness, Illinois OSHA Chief Erik Kambarian said in a statement.

The division urged the sanitation department to provide initial and refresher training on safe vehicle operation policies for all employees to prevent similar future tragedies.

While the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforces many health and safety standards in Illinois, the state-level agency handles workplace safety incidents involving local and state government workers.