Rapidly Descending Refrigerator Door at Grocery Store Injures Man

    This case involves an injury to a man due to a rapidly closing overhead door. The plaintiff was taking a tour of the defendant’s grocery store. The plaintiff came to the giant 14′ x 10′ insulated freezer doors where forklifts enter and exit when the door quickly descended upon the plaintiff’s head, driving him to the ground. The plaintiff sustained a traumatic brain injury.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. What are the safety precautions for refrigerator doors like this one?

    Expert Witness Response E-004528

    I believe you are describing a rapid action overhead roll-up door. These may be metal doors or fabric doors with a steel frame. There are standards that require that they be equipped with either a light beam obstruction sensor that prevents the door from closing if the beam is broken by an object in the path of the door, or a pressure sensitive safety astragal along the bottom edge which stops the door quickly if it comes in contact with an object. I have cited this hazard numerous times during safety audits and inspections and believe it has been cited by OSHA as a violation of the machine-guarding standard. I have over forty years of experience in safety engineering, human factors, and environmental management experience. I have completed safety surveys of multiple governmental facilities, as well as on-site safety supervision in corporations and other construction work.

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