A Waste Management employee suffered a cracked pelvis last week, in an accident that temporarily shut down Oak Park’s leaf collection program for the rest of one day.
Around 9 a.m. Nov. 16, a Waste Management worker was rounding up leaves on the 1000 block of South Clinton using a Bobcat construction vehicle. Meanwhile, another Waste Management employee, Raul Nunez, was chatting with a private contractor who was parked in a pickup truck nearby, said Oak Park Fire Battalion Chief Kevin Wiley.
The Bobcat driver then allegedly backed up and inadvertently pinned Nunez against the driver’s side door of the truck, caving the door in 4 to 5 inches according to Wiley.
Still conscious but in “extreme pain,” Nunez was transported to Loyola Medical Center with a cracked pelvis. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was sent out to investigate the accident, according to Public Works Director John Wielebnicki, and Oak Park’s fall leaf collection program was shut down for the rest of the day, resuming on Nov. 17.
Waste Management fell a day behind in its work, but Wielebnicki said they were pretty much back on schedule as of Monday, save for a few piles here and there. Fall leaf collections end next week, on Dec. 2.
“They’ve advised the village that they’ll do everything they can to get caught up this week,” Wielebnicki said the day after the accident. “Leaves are pretty heavy right now, and we have a couple weeks left of the program, so it’s important that they get caught up.”
Waste Management spokesman Bill Plunkett said that Nunez was resting at home Monday evening. The “root cause” of the accident was still under investigation earlier this week.
“Waste Management takes safety issues very seriously and works very hard to avoid circumstances that could lead to the injury of any of our people,” Plunkett said.