An action as routine as opening trailer doors to unload empty drums should be harmless, but one case resulted in a head laceration and an emergency airlift to the hospital.

“What happened in this case could happen to anyone,” said Scott Mounts, Greif’s Environmental Health and Safety Director, who recounted the incident and the steps that should be taken to prevent it. “We make it a priority to equip our team members with the proper safety knowledge and protocols to ensure this sort of situation never happens to them.”

When he opened his trailer doors to remove the cargo, he didn’t take into account that the freight could have shifted during transit. So, upon opening the doors, a drum fell on top of him and cut his head so severely that EMTs called to the scene couldn’t stop the bleeding, resulting in a life-saving airlift to the hospital.

Safety risks associated with opening cargo trailer doors are an issue. At Greif, safety is always our top priority—not just for our own team, but also for the safety of our customers and their customers. For those reasons, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide for a safer method of opening trailer doors. Get in touch with us to receive your free guide that you can carry with you and share with your colleagues to keep your story from turning out like this one.

We’d like to share additional valuable safety information with you, as well as a complimentary safety strap. Please reach out to your Greif representative to receive your safety brochure and safety strap, or visit us at to ensure you and your employees are safe when unloading packaging products.