A heavy equipment mechanic was killed when he was struck by a backhoe while assisting a co-worker, also a mechanic, with the disassembly of an excavator. They were attempting to remove a linkage pin holding the boom and stick sections together. After several attempts to manually remove the pin, they solicited the assistance of a worker from another company who was operating a backhoe at the construction site. The worker (operator) was not a qualified equipment operator and had limited experience operating a backhoe. The operator drove the backhoe over to the excavator. In order to remove the pin, the workers used the edge of the backhoe's bucket to apply pressure to the pin. A 2-1/2-inch diameter pipe was used as an extension to the pin. The victim climbed up a ladder to hold the pipe in position until adequate pressure from the backhoe held it in place. The co-worker entered the cab of excavator to adjust the boom's position, if necessary, to facilitate the pin's removal. The backhoe operator could see the victim's torso and right hand below the bucket; his left hand and the pipe were visible above the bucket. The victim, using his right hand, gave hand signals to the operator to move forward and place the edge of the bucket on the pipe. However, the victim's position placed his head in front of the bucket. Before the victim could move down the ladder, to clear his head from the bite zone, the backhoe lurched forward. The victim's head has struck by the bucket; the force knocked him off the ladder and against the boom of the excavator. The co-worker came to the aid of the victim while the backhoe operator drove the backhoe to another area to call for help. The victim was transported to a nearby medical center by emergency medical service where he died from his injuries. Based on the findings of the investigation, to prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure workers are capable of recognizing and avoiding hazardous situations and should develop and implement a safety program facilitating safe worksite practices; 2. Ensure that mechanics and operators use manufacturer-recommended practices for disassembly of heavy equipment; 3. Ensure that all personnel involved in heavy equipment assembly and disassembly are knowledgeable with the process and equipment to be used.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-10; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Training; Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Equipment-operators