Scrap Processor Struck by Wrench and Dies after Makeshift Torque System Fails, Kentucky

Kentuck Case Report: 14KY036


On June 30, 2014, a 42-year-old scrap processor was instructed by his supervisor to salvage the main bolts on a locomotive flywheel that was being scrapped, so the normal procedure of removing them with a torch was replaced by the following method: To increase tension, the scrap processor wrapped one end of a large 48 mm wrench with a makeshift sling that was tied at the other end to an excavator grapple. The scrap processor fit the wrench on the bolt and an excavator operator applied tension to the sling on the excavator. Once the bolt was loosened, the scrap processor signaled the excavator operator to lower the tension, after which the scrap processor moved the wrench to the next bolt.

After successfully removing 40 bolts using this method, the scrap processor placed the wrench on the next bolt and signaled the excavator operator to apply tension. While tension was applied, the victim grabbed the sling and leaned over to observe the bolt. The wrench slipped off the bolt, shot out and struck the victim on the right side of his head causing him to fall 6 feet to the ground, striking several pieces of scrap metal. Emergency Medical Services were called at 11:40 am. They arrived approximately 15 minutes later and the victim was flown to a Level 4 trauma center. Physicians placed the victim into an induced coma. The victim succumbed to his injuries 13 days later and died.

Scrap Processor Struck by Wrench and Dies after Makeshift Torque System Fails, Kentuckypdf icon [PDF 1,146 KB]

Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015