Municipal Public Works Foreman Dies After Falling From a Dump Truck – Massachusetts

Massachusetts Case Report: 18MA050
Release Date: August 12, 2019


On September 11, 2018, a 59-year-old male municipal foreman died after falling from a dump truck bed. At the time of the incident, the foreman and a co-worker were unloading a sod cutter that was located on the truck’s bed. Wood planks were being used as a ramp to help with this task. The victim climbed the wood planks and as he was stepping onto the dump truck’s bed, one of the wood planks slipped out and fell to the ground. The victim also fell, striking his head on the ground. The co-worker, who witnessed the incident, placed a call for emergency medical services (EMS) and assisted the victim. EMS arrived quickly and the victim was transported to the hospital.

Key contributing factors identified in this investigation include:

  • Not using appropriate ramps or transport vehicle for the task;
  • Not performing a job safety analysis prior to beginning work; and
  • No health and safety program.

The Massachusetts FACE Program concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:

  • Ensure the appropriate equipment is available and used for each assigned task.
  • Ensure that a job safety analysis is performed prior to the start of each project.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive safety and health program that addresses hazard recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions.

In addition, employers should:

  • Work towards creating a positive safety culture and safety climate in the workplace.
  • Ensure that all workers assigned to tasks where they will spend time along roadways wear high visibility, reflective clothing.

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Page last reviewed: May 28, 2020