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OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor

Process: Shipfitting


Traumatic/Acute Injuries: Case History 2


A shipfitter was getting material from an area adjacent to where a rigger was offloading bulkheads. The rigger watched the load as it was being upended to be placed in a storage rack. As the material (bulkhead) came up, it caught under another plate. When the rigger pushed on the bulkhead to break it free, the bulkhead shifted.

As the bulkhead pivoted on the trailer, it struck the shipfitter who was standing with his back to the load. The edge of the bulkhead struck the shipfitter on the right side of his hard hat, just above the rim. The force knocked the shipfitter down to the ground and onto a stock box beside the slump area.

inlay of work area with rigger and shipfitter footprint diagrams showing location of accident

Approximate locations of the rigger and shipfitter

closeup of damaged hard hat

The edge of the steel plate that swung out dug a furrow into the shipfitter's hard hat

Analysis and Preventive Measures

While his injuries were not life-threatening, if the shipfitter had been caught between the bulkhead and another object, this situation might have caused a severe injury or possibly death. Loads being picked up (or "lifted") have the potential to swing or move from side to side, and, in this case the shipfitter was not restricted from the dangerous area.

Following the incident, management established a practice that requires that the immediate area be secured from other personnel while offloading trailers.


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