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Truck driver fatally injured after falling into an ore hopper.

NIOSH 2001 Jan; :1-13
A 58-year-old truck driver (the victim) was fatally injured as a result of falling into a hopper at an ore storage facility. The victim was driving a tractor with two trailers loaded with ore concentrate. After arriving at the storage facility and while waiting his turn to unload, he had released the tiedown straps holding the tarps onto the trailers. Strong winds blew the tarp and its rollbar off the top the first trailer, leaving them hanging over the side. The victim was unable to lift and secure the tarp and rollbar over his load. After he was signaled to enter the building housing the dumping platform, he drove the tractor through the entrance; the trailers remained outside the building. He then climbed onto the catwalk at the front of the first trailer. The facility operator tried to assist him but was unable to lift the rollbar high enough for the victim to grasp. She handed one of the front tiedown straps to him, and he was able to pull up the front end of the bar. Once the end of the bar was placed in a holding bracket, he exited the catwalk. When asked if he needed further assistance, the victim stated that he did not and would roll the tarp after the trailers were inside the building. The victim went back to the cab and pulled the trailers forward so that the operator could close the entry door. The operator then secured and rigged the trailers for dumping and did not see the victim's activities. After the trailers were secured and rigged, the operator looked for the victim. Not locating him inside the building, the operator went to the control room and radioed a waiting driver who stated that he had not seen the victim exit the building. The operator searched the area again and went back to the control room. She observed the victim's feet in a video monitor that was used to view the ore transferring through a shoot to the last conveyor; his body was trapped in the shoot. The operator radioed for help and stopped the conveyor. Emergency medical personnel were requested. The victim was removed from the conveyor system and transport to a clinic where he was pronounced dead. Based on the findings of the investigation, to prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Require tarps to remain secured to trailers until the trailer is ready to be unloaded; 2. Ensure that workers are able to recognize and avoid hazardous situations, such as climbing on loads or anywhere outside a trailer's catwalk; 3. With the assistance of workers involved in the activity, develop procedures to remedy problems; 4. Consider adding communication skills in safety classes during new hire orientation.
Region-10; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Training; Safety-programs; Occupational-safety-programs; Drivers; Tractors; Machine-operators; Equipment-operators
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-00AK007; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-007089
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services