On April 13, 2000, a 70-year-old male landfill heavy equipment operator (victim) died of injuries sustained when the bulldozer he was operating backed over him. The victim was using a 19 year old bulldozer to spread soil which was being supplied by a dump truck. The soil spreading operation was part of the landfill’s routine internal road building efforts. Prior to the fatal incident, he had left the bulldozer unattended on level ground. The unattended bulldozer was running at full throttle and both the transmission neutral safety lock and the parking brake had not been engaged. The dozer’s blade was also left partially elevated. As the dump truck driver approached with another load, he noticed the unattended bulldozer. The truck driver then made his usual U-turn before backing up to position himself for dumping. Although there were no witnesses, it is believed that during this period, the victim began to climb up on the bulldozer on the same side as the transmission selector lever. Due to a trip, stumble, loss of balance or inadvertent hand placement, it is believed he bumped the transmission into 2nd speed reverse. It is also believed that he was either standing on the bulldozer’s left track or was thrown onto the track by the sudden jerk of the transmission engagement. He then rode the track backwards until falling off. The bulldozer’s left track ran over the victim’s chest cavity. As the truck driver began backing up, he searched his mirrors for the unattended dozer and could not locate it. Opening his door and turning his body for better visibility, he spotted the victim who had been run over approximately 78 feet from the bulldozer’s original position. He then saw the bulldozer, which had continued another 25 feet and was beginning to bury itself after having gone over an embankment. Realizing the severity of the injury, the truck driver immediately drove to another part of the site for help. After EMS was contacted, the site’s supervisor returned, checked the victim, and then shut down the unattended bulldozer. EMS arrived within minutes. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The WV FACE investigator concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure that machines are not left unattended unless all precautions necessary to prevent motion have been taken. 2. Develop, implement, and enforce a written safety program which includes, but is not limited to, task and equipment specific safety procedures, work rules, and worker training in hazard identification, avoidance, and control. 3. Designate a competent person to conduct frequent and regular site safety inspections.
Region-3; 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; Safety-programs; Safety-personnel; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Equipment-design; Waste-disposal