Municipal Mechanic Fatally Injured When Crushed Between a Skid-steer Loader’s Frame and Bucket – Massachusetts

Massachusetts Case Report: 12MA024
Release Date: June 23, 2014
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.


On November 30, 2012, a 55-year-old male municipal mechanic (victim) for a water department was fatally injured while troubleshooting a malfunctioning skid-steer loader. The victim was standing facing the loader between the loader’s raised bucket and the frame when the raised bucket came down, crushing the victim against the loader’s frame. The victim was found by a co-worker who had entered the garage to check on him. The co-worker immediately called 911 and then called other co-workers from his cell phone. The multiple co-workers and emergency medical workers (EMS) arrived within minutes. EMS transported the victim to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Contributing factors identified in this investigation were that there were no lockout/tagout procedures, the lift arm support device was not installed to prevent the lift arm from lowering, the operator seat bar was engaged while no one was located in the loader’s seat, and the victim was working under a raised load. The Massachusetts FACE Program concluded that to prevent similar occurrences in the future, municipalities should:

  • Ensure that safeguards and interlocks are used and are readily accessible, never bypassed;
  • Ensure that skid-steer loader lift arm support devices are installed prior to beginning troubleshooting and maintenance tasks that require the lift arm to be in the raised position;
  • Ensure that skid-steer loader operator seat bars are only in the lowered position when a worker is seated in the operator’s seat;
  • Develop, implement and enforce lockout/tagout procedures for skid-steer loader maintenance tasks that include the use of the loader’s lift arm support device; and
  • Provide work environments for employees that, at a minimum, meet all relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and industry accepted standards of practice per the Department of Labor Standards policy.

Municipal Mechanic Fatally Injured When Crushed Between a Skid-steer Loader’s Frame and Bucket – Massachusettspdf icon [PDF 1.1 MB]

Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015