Skip directly to local search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

Custodian Dies From Injuries Sustained While Attempting To Stop A Pickup Truck That Was Rolling Away

Minnesota FACE Investigation 95MN063
February 29, 1995

SUMMARY

A 66-year-old male custodian (victim) had driven a company owned pickup truck to a container manufacturing plant to pick up cardboard containers for his employer. The victim backed the truck through an open overhead loading dock door. The victim stopped the truck engine, but apparently left the automatic transmission in reverse. The truck's parking brake was not set. The driveway leading to the loading dock was slightly inclined and lead to a parking lot. The victim got out of the truck and stood inside the building near a service door which was adjacent the garage door.

A forklift driver for the container company loaded one lift of cardboard containers, weighing approximately 500 pounds, into the bed of the pickup truck. The forklift driver reported that after he had loaded the cardboard containers into the back of the pickup truck he backed up the forklift. While the forklift driver was lowering the forks of the forklift, the pickup truck started to roll down the incline of the loading bay. The victim ran out of the building through the service door. He ran in front of the truck and may have tried to stop it from rolling down the driveway. The victim was run over by the truck at a distance of 55 feet from the building. The truck continued to roll until it hit a drainage curb and came to a stop. The forklift operator immediately called 911 and summoned help from other employees. Emergency medical personnel arrived at the incident site shortly after being called. Medical personnel attempted to resuscitate the victim, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital. MN FACE investigators concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed:

  • vehicles with automatic transmissions should have their transmissions left in the park position;
  • parking brakes should be set when vehicles are parked;
  • vehicles parked on inclines should have their wheels chocked; and
  • employers should design, develop, and implement a comprehensive safety program.

 

INTRODUCTION

On November 13, 1995, MN FACE investigators were notified of a work-related fatality that occurred on November 10,1995. The city police department was contacted and a releasable copy of their report of the incident was obtained. OSHA was contacted and releasable information obtained. A site investigation was conducted by MN FACE investigators on December 19, 1995. During the site investigation, information concerning the incident was provided by the employer and by an employee of the company where the incident occurred.

The employer in this incident was a sheet metal and office furniture supply company. The company had been in business at their current location since 1963. The business had approximately 65 employees. The victim was an experienced custodian who had worked for the employer for six years.

 

INVESTIGATION

On the morning of the incident, the victim had driven a company owned truck to a container manufacturing plant to pick up cardboard containers for his employer. The container manufacturing plant was located about 40 miles from the victim's place of employment so his employer allowed him to take the truck home the night before in order to get an early start the next day. The truck was a 1979 one-half ton pickup.

The victim left his home shortly before 5:00 a.m. and drove the truck to the cardboard container manufacturing plant. The victim backed the truck through an open overhead loading dock door. The rear wheels were inside the building and the front wheels were outside the building on the driveway (Figure 1). The victim stopped the truck engine, but apparently left the automatic transmission in reverse. The truck's parking brake was not set. The driveway leading to the loading dock had a slight incline (slope of 4 percent) and it lead to a parking lot. The driveway pavement was dry at the time of the incident. The victim got out of the truck and stood inside the building near a service door which was adjacent to the garage door. The loading dock door faced west and the service door was to the north of the loading dock door.

A forklift driver for the container company loaded one lift of cardboard containers, weighing approximately 500 pounds, into the bed of the pickup truck. The forklift driver reported that while he was putting the cardboard containers into the truck it started to roll down the incline of the loading bay. The victim ran out of the building through the service door. He ran in front of the truck and may have tried to stop it from rolling down the driveway. The victim was run over by the truck approximately 55 feet from the building. The truck continued to roll until it hit a drainage curb and came to a stop. The forklift operator immediately called 911 and summoned help from other employees. Emergency medical personnel arrived at the incident site shortly after being called. Medical personnel attempted to resuscitate the victim, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.

 

CAUSE OF DEATH

The cause of death listed on the death certificate was multiple blunt force injuries.

diagram of incident site

 

RECOMMENDATIONS/DISCUSSION

Recommendation #1: Vehicles with automatic transmissions should have their transmissions left in the park position.

Discussion: In order to prevent a vehicle from rolling while parked, the transmission should always be left in the park position. Vehicles with automatic transmissions, are less likely to roll if they are left in the park position, rather than in an operating position such as drive or reverse. If the truck involved in this incident had been left with it's transmission in the park position, this fatality may have been prevented.

 

Recommendation #2: Parking brakes should be set when vehicles are parked.

Discussion: In order to prevent a vehicle from rolling while parked, the parking brake should always be set. Setting the parking brake, decreases the likelihood that a vehicle will roll when it is parked. If the truck involved in this incident had been left with the parking brake set, this fatality may have been prevented.

 

Recommendation #3: Vehicles parked on inclines should have their wheels chocked.

Discussion: Whenever a vehicle is parked on an incline, not only should the parking brake be set, but the wheels should be chocked. Chocking the wheels with blocks helps to ensure that the vehicle will not roll. If the wheels on the truck involved in this incident had been chocked, this fatality may have been prevented.

 

Recommendation #4: Employers should design, develop, and implement a comprehensive safety program.

Discussion: Employers should ensure that all employees are trained to recognize and avoid hazardous work conditions. A comprehensive safety program should address all aspects of safety related to specific tasks that employees are required to perform. OSHA Standard 1926.21(b)(2) requires employers to "instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury." Safety rules, regulations, and procedures should include the recognition and elimination of hazards associated with tasks performed by employees.

 

REFERENCES

1. Office of the Federal Register: Code of Federal Regulations, Labor, 29 CFR Part 1926.600 (a) (3) (ii), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, D.C., October 1, 1994.

2. Office of the Federal Register: Code of Federal Regulations, Labor, 29 CFR Part 1926,21 (b) (2), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, D.C., July 1, 1993.

 

To contact Minnesota State FACE program personnel regarding State-based FACE reports, please use information listed on the Contact Sheet on the NIOSH FACE web site Please contact In-house FACE program personnel regarding In-house FACE reports and to gain assistance when State-FACE program personnel cannot be reached.

 

 
Contact Us:
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO