NIOSH logo and tagline

A Laborer Dies When He is Crushed by an Industrial Washing Machine

California Case Report: 11CA007

The following report is the product of our Cooperative State partner and is presented here in its original unedited form from the state. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


A laborer was crushed by a horizontal drum industrial washing machine while he was reaching into the machine to retrieve clothing. When the machine had first finished its wash cycle, a co-worker aligned the inside door on the horizontal drum of the washing machine with the outside door on the frame. The victim’s supervisor opened the drum door, and then the victim began to retrieve laundry by leaning inside the drum. Video shows the supervisor then switched the machine on and the drum suddenly rotated upward, pulling the victim off his feet and pinning his torso between the drum and frame of the washing machine. The supervisor switched off the machine and then attempted to free the victim. Other employees in the shop also came to assist. The door safety interlock was disconnected at the time of the incident. Factors identified in this investigation which may have contributed to the victim’s death included the disconnected safety interlock switch and the work practice of one worker reaching into the washer while a second worker was near the washer controls.

A Laborer Dies When He is Crushed by an Industrial Washing Machine [PDF 398 KB]