A pipefitter, working in a trench, died when he was struck by an excavator bucket that detached from a quick coupler, California
California Case Report: 20CA002
Release Date: August 4, 2021
A pipefitter, working in a trench, died after being struck by an excavator bucket that detached from a quick coupling device (quick coupler) that was attached to the end of the boom. The operator of the excavator was curling the bucket into the boom when the bucket came loose and fell on the victim. There was no competent person onsite the day of the incident. The CA/FACE investigator determined that, in order to prevent similar incidents, construction companies who operate excavators should:
- Maintain and inspect quick couplers to prevent malfunctions that may cause an unintended release of the excavator’s bucket.
- Ensure that a competent person is onsite to identify hazards and determine all necessary safety precautions, including preventing workers from walking/traversing beneath an excavator boom swing radius or elevated load.