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Equipment operator dies after the backhoe he was operating rolled off an embankment in California.

NIOSH 1996 Jan; :1-4
A 55-year-old male equipment operator (the victim) died from injuries he sustained after the backhoe he was operating rolled over the side of an embankment. The victim was performing road maintenance work using a backhoe to move dirt from an upper to a lower embankment as part of a road widening operation. After the backhoe went over the embankment, it traveled 30 feet before flipping onto its right side. The victim was not wearing a hard hat or a seat belt which allowed him to be thrown head first into the roll over protective structure (ROPS) bar located approximately four feet from his seat. A site safety inspection had been performed by management the day before the job was to have begun, but this information had not yet been discussed with employees when the incident occurred. The autopsy report indicated that the victim had a significantly elevated ethanol level. After the incident, the victim was transported by helicopter to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The CA/FACE investigator concluded that in order to prevent similar future occurrences employers should: 1. require that all employees wear seat belts when operating large pieces of equipment such as backhoes. 2. require that employees wear hard hats when operating large pieces of equipment. 3. perform initial and ongoing hazard identification surveys and communicate these results to employees. 4. familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of alcohol or drug use and/or dependence through educational and training sessions so that they may effectively intervene when indicated. In addition, manufacturers and equipment designers should consider: 5. designing backhoes with interlock systems that would prevent the machine from operating unless the seatbelt is fastened properly.
Region-9; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Training; Safety-belts; Equipment-operators; Protective-equipment; Road-construction; Road-surfacing; Safety-helmets; Maintenance-workers; Equipment-design; Substance-abuse; Alcoholic-beverages
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-95CA010; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-907284
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute