Johnson City, TN 37601
Garage Door Service, 24 Hour Garage Door Repair, Door Installations,
Loading Dock Equipment, Preventive Maintenance
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openers such as Sears, Liftmaster, Chamberlain, Genie. Garage door hinge and roller
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|Two Maintenance Mechanics Died When a Suspended Steel Dock Plate Fell on Them
Two 53-year-old Hispanic male maintenance mechanics died when a suspended steel dock plate fell on them. The
steel dock plate was part of a dock leveler that was being replaced. The steel dock plate was being suspended by a
chain that ran through a pipe welded to the top of the dock plate and attached to the hook of a deck crane. The weld
connecting the pipe to the dock plate broke while both victims were working under the suspended load. The loading
dock leveler had a safety bar underneath the dock plate to hold it when in the raised position, but the safety bar was
not used at the time of the incident. The method used to perform the lift was not the one that the company
recommended. The CA/FACE investigator determined that in order to prevent future occurrences, employers, as
part of their Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), should:
Ensure employees never place themselves under a suspended load.
Ensure employees follow recommended procedures when replacing the dock levelers.
The site of the incident was a loading dock at the rear of the business. The mechanical device involved in this incident was a piece
of machinery referred to as a “dock leveler.” Dock levelers allow forklifts to enter and exit the beds of trucks and trailers by bridging
the gap between the loading dock and truck beds and trailers. The hydraulic mechanism that raised and lowered the dock plate
was underneath the plate. The plate also had a safety bar attached to its underside that, when engaged, supported the plate.
On the day of the incident, one of the dock levelers was being returned to service after being removed for repairs. The victims were
assigned the task of placing the dock leveler back in service. They had performed this task many times in the past. The company’s
written procedures for this task followed the manufacturer’s recommended procedures which were that a forklift would elevate the
dock plate, the safety bar would then be engaged, and then any work would proceed. On the day of the incident, these procedures
were not followed. Instead, the victims welded a piece of pipe to the top of the dock plate. A chain was placed through the pipe and
then attached to the hook of a small deck crane. The dock crane was then used to move the plate into position. It is not known if
the victims had used this method to raise a dock plate in the past.
While the dock plate remained suspended, the victims moved under the dock plate and started connecting the hydraulic hoses
without first engaging the safety bar or blocking the plate in the raised position. The weld that attached the pipe to the top of the
dock plate broke and the dock plate fell, striking both victims in the back. One victim was struck but fell away from the dock plate
while the other remained trapped underneath. Another employee working in the vicinity heard the loud noise and came over to
investigate. The employee used a forklift to raise the dock plate off the trapped victim. The paramedics responded and
administered CPR to both victims. One victim was transported to the hospital via ambulance in full cardiac arrest. The other victim
was air lifted to the hospital. Both victims died as a result of their injuries.
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