The plaintiff, an experienced truck driver working for a new transportation company, drove his rig into a facility to unload the contents. After unloading his tanker, he hooked up the complimentary automatic rinsing apparatus, provided by the receiving facility (host). After the rinse cycle was completed, he was closed the hatches on top of his rig and fell eleven feet, head first onto the concrete floor, fracturing his skull and both arms. The cause of his fall was unknown. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit for an excess of $10,000,000. Plaintiff council based his claim on the fact that the host had not provided him with fall protection.
The defendant's safety expert provided documentation, according to OSHA regulations, that it was the plaintiff's employer's responsibility to provide personal protective equipment and training on the use of it. The host (defendant), by OSHA law, was not allowed to provide a safety harness to anyone other than their own employees.
During the trial, just minutes prior to the safety expert providing expert testimony a decision was made by the judge, in favor of the defendant, based on the defendant's council referencing the expert's opinion in his written report. Had the plaintiff council pursued the fact that the host had not provided adequate anchor points and required all visitors to provide and use their own personal fall arrest equipment, the outcome might have been different.
Jon Pina, MS, CSP, is a Safety, Health, & Environmental Expert. With more than thirty years experience in safety management, loss prevention, construction and demolition, coal, chemical, steel, and hazardous waste abatement, Mr. Pina can observe cases from a well-rounded viewpoint of a Safety and Health professional, construction manager, and "hands on" worker. Among his most notable accomplishments, he has held the position of Construction Manager on many large-scale demolition projects. He also has demonstrated expertise in areas such as the operation of chemical plants and gained field experience as a union journeyman pipe fitter.