October 11, 2011
The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry has cited the city of Norfolk for 19 serious safety violations following the death of a garbage truck worker in February.
The 51-year-old man was crushed to death by the hydraulic system inside his garbage truck on February 3. According to HamptonRoads.com, city officials initially said the worker violated policy by climbing into the back of the truck to clear debris away from a blade.
However, the state agency found that the man was only doing what he’d been trained to do. They also concluded that the safety mechanism that may have saved his life was not functional.
“Employees are instructed to enter the compactor area of the Heil Formula 7000 trucks to clear debris when the blade stops due to the limit switch tripping,” the report states.
The victim’s daughter said that her family hasn’t been notified about the state’s investigation into her father’s death, but she said she’d checked with other sanitation workers to confirm that her father had followed policy by getting into the back of his truck.
“[My father] would not have done that unless he was told to do it,” said the daughter. “He was very conscious of safety issues.”