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SAFETY FLASH: Contractor’s Cart in Cafeteria Causes Customer’s Employee to be injured


Contractor’s Cart in Cafeteria Causes Customer’s Employee to be injured

A contractor was in the process of pulling an empty cart (approximately 2 feet wide, 6 feet long with a height of 10 inches) through a customer’s cafeteria service area during a high usage time to access a freight elevator.  The contractor stopped to talk to a co-worker following behind him, placing the cart in the middle of a high trafficked section of the service area.  Approximately 5 feet from the cart one of the customer’s employees was selecting food items with their back to the cart.  Shortly after the contractor stopped, the cafeteria patron turned around and took two or three steps before tripping over the cart.  The contractor pushing the cart and other cafeteria patrons helped the injured person get up and got a chair for them to sit on.  The other contractor removed the cart from the area and returned to assist with the incident.  By this time the injured person had been encouraged by the other cafeteria patrons to get a medical evaluation and was able to walk to the customer’s on-site medical clinic without assistance.


The injured person received contusions to one knee and an elbow; an X-Ray of the elbow was negative for fractures.


In the course of the investigation it was revealed that the contractors had entered the cafeteria to access a freight elevator as a way to avoid cart traffic on new carpet in the typical route’s hall.  The contractors had been instructed to avoid the carpet, however they passed another freight elevator that could have been used rather than cutting through the cafeteria to use the more convenient one.

Factors to consider at your site and/or project include, but not limited to the following:

·         Pre-plan your travel path to avoid high pedestrian traffic areas, areas that could be easily damaged by contractor traffic, and areas that the customer would prefer contractors not be seen in.

·         If your travel must take you through one of these areas, preplan your travel time and prepare the path to avoid facility damage, personnel injury, and business interruption.

·         Once in a pedestrian traffic area avoid stopping with carts or other objects that could present a danger to the pedestrian in the area.

·         If you must stop a cart or leave another object in a pedestrian traffic area, locate it in a way that it will not place the pedestrians at risk of injury.  Establish a barricade around the object if needed.

·        If it is known that an area of the facility must be avoided by pedestrians, contractors, carts, etc., establish alternate traffic routes and communicate the routes to the effected people.

·         If the customer requests work to be done in one of these areas it should be limited, as much as possible, to times when the customer’s employees are not using the area.

·         Ensure that all contractors are familiar with the customer’s emergency reporting and response procedures for incidents they are involved in, as well as those that involve the customer’s employees

Consider this example as you complete today’s work activities.
Safety Flash Action Items:
  • Date Contractor Safety Flash posted for all employees to review: _______________
  • Safety Talk meeting date: _______________
  • Full employee attendance and participation at safety meeting to review this incident (documentation required).
  • Employees understand urgency in protecting themselves and others.
  • Supervisors and Employees are clear which items shared in this Safety Flash are mandatory.
  • Employees/Supervisors will focus on recommended actions during future work activities of a similar nature.
Contract Firm Management Rep Signature____________________

about the hazards associated with your particular work, and the steps that can be taken to increase safety on your job.

If you have questions about this Contractor Safety Flash, or would like additional information, please contact  Safety Management Group at 317.276.3413.
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