- The city of Berkeley, CA is appealing six of eight citations from the state's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) related to the death of a public waste commission worker.
- On January 11, Johnny Tolliver, Sr., 52, was reportedly crushed by a collection truck. The vehicle rolled downhill after it was left in neutral without the parking brake engaged. Tolliver's co-worker tripped while the two men were running after the vehicle and didn't see how Tolliver fell under the wheels.
- According to a June 22 OSHA report, the city failed to meet a variety of safety standards. The city is appealing six citations related to employee training, but not appealing two involving failure to provide a separate circuit breaker cover or check the truck at the beginning of the shift.
OSHA's investigation began on the day of the incident and it later proposed penalties totaling $98,425. The two largest fines —$22,500 each—were for the parking brake not being set and the vehicle not being in positive control during all periods of operation. Others workers interviewed by OSHA said they hadn't read or seen vehicle operating manuals and didn't normally use parking brakes on hills.
A representative for Berkeley said no similar incident had occurred in recent history. The city plans to improve training and safety procedures by working more closely with employees and unions. Reminder signs and labels will also be put in trucks to ensure drivers follow instruction and document inspections.
Tragic incidents such as this one are a tough reminder that waste collection is still one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. OSHA has announced changes such as higher fines and more public reporting of company injury rates, but comprehensive reform will need to come from within. A number of recent initiatives have focused on vehicle safety and it's an ongoing priority within the industry.