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October 2016

Safety Notes

Accident Report

Incident: Cut by glass
Industry: Glass product manufacturing
Victim: Glass handler

A glass handler was cut when a large sheet of glass broke as he was lifting it from a storage rack.

The glass handler was in the middle of his second week of work on the night shift at a company that makes residential glass for windows and doors; he was working with another glass handler who had been assigned to train him.

The two workers were removing a 70- by 103-inch, 1/4-inch thick, sheet of noncoated glass from the “harp storage rack” – so named because it looked like a harp – next to the loading end of a glass-tempering furnace.

The injured worker was moving backward and pulling the glass from the rack with his right hand under the glass and his left hand above his head steadying it. As the glass neared the end of the harp rack, his partner put his left hand under the bottom edge and held the top edge above his head with his right hand.

(The glass could have been stored in safer “A-dollies” – they were shaped like the letter “A” – instead of the harp rack. The A-dollies made handling the glass easier and workers were not exposed to large pieces if the glass did break. At the time of the incident, however, the A-dollies were used to store large panes of coated glass.)

It was unclear how the glass broke as the two workers pulled it from the harp rack. The injured worker said the glass broke because his partner dropped it in the harp rack; his co-worker said the glass broke as they were removing it from the harp rack.

The injured worker was still holding the glass, however, and as it broke, a large piece above his head struck his left forearm as he tried to deflect it. The glass broke again on his forearm and pieces struck his head as he turned to the right. Other pieces of glass cut him from his ear to his neck. He tried to stop the bleeding with his gloved hands while his partner called the supervisor on the two-way radio and told him what happened.

The two workers rushed to the office, where they met the supervisor, who took them to the first aid room; the plant manager and safety manager attended to the worker’s injuries and called 911. He was released from the hospital the next day.

graphic representation of accident
Illustration: Patricia Young

Findings

The workers should have used the A-dollies because they were safer for handling large panes of glass. The harp rack required workers to do more heavy lifting and caused more awkward lifting postures, which increased the risk of serious injuries.

After the incident, plant managers decided to start storing all large noncoated glass in the A-dollies, making glass handling safer. In the longer run, the company planned to use a conveyer to connect the glass-cutting department to the loading end of the glass-tempering furnace. The conveyer would eliminate the need for workers to handle the glass at the loading end of the tempering furnace.

Violation

437-001-0760(1)(b)(C), Employer’s responsibilities: To use all means and methods to safely accomplish work where employees are exposed to a hazard. (Employees did not use A-dollies when they were handling large noncoated glass at the loading end of the glass-tempering furnace.)


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