This case involves a worker who was picking up a load from a trucking company. The plaintiff went to their location and was required to put a tarp over the haul. There was no fall protection equipment available for the plaintiff to use while performing this task. While attempting to put the tarp over the haul, the plaintiff fell off of his truck and suffered serious brain injuries from the fall. As a result of his injuries, the plaintiff was unable to return to work and will spend the rest of his life on disability. An expert in fall protection for loading and unloading trucks was sought to review the case and determine if the trucking company was negligent in its duty to protect the safety of its workers.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. What is your experience in the trucking industry?
- 2. What systems or protocols could have been in place to prevent the accident?
Expert Witness Response E-037087
I have worked in the transportation industry as a safety director, vice-president of safety, and a safety consultant. I currently serve as the director of safety and compliance for the midwest region of a major American trucking company. I have completed several hundred compliance reviews on FMCSA, PHMSA, OSHA, and conducted thousands of commercial motor vehicle inspection in accordance with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) procedures. Additionally, I hold a commercial driver’s license, and I am certified in fall protection requirements of OSHA, ANSI, and CSA. Generally speaking, the fixed-site employer is responsible for providing a means to use fall protection when a driver comes on site to tarp or un-tarp loads. The site employer is required to inform the driver of the fall protection means and how the driver can use them. OSHA regulations govern the safety and health of the workers and the responsibilities of employers to ensure their safety at the warehouse, dock, construction site, and in other places truckers go to deliver and pick up loads throughout the country. While OSHA does not regulate self-employed truckers, it does regulate workplaces where the truckers deliver goods and the workers who receive those goods. A fall protection program that includes visitors on the property could have been in place to prevent the accident. However, I would need to see the policies and procedures in place for fall protection at shipper’s facility as I have some questions on the case specifics. Was the company cited with any OSHA violations for the incident? Is the driver an employee or owner-operator of the trucking company? Does the trucking company provide load securement and tarp training? What safety gear is provided by the trucking company?