Construction Laborer Pinned Under Tire of Articulated Machine

Michigan Case Report: 09MI009


In the winter of 2009, a 30-year-old male construction laborer was pinned under the tire of an articulating DitchMaster M450 with a front end loader and tree spade attachment that overturned to the side. The decedent’s employer had parked the machine, placing the front end loader attachment across a construction trailer tongue and its 2-foot crank hitch with the driver’s side front tire against the trailer tongue. The decedent and two coworkers arrived at the worksite and wanted to haul the construction trailer from the worksite. The decedent, against company policy, climbed onto the seat, pulled the Kill switch, and started the machine. The machine stalled, and he started it again. The machine was in first gear. When he applied power, the machine started forward. The front driver’s side front tire drove up and over the trailer tongue hitch, puncturing the tire. The machine articulated (bent in on itself), and then overturned. Either the decedent was trying to jump from the machine as it articulated or he was thrown from the machine as it overturned. He was pinned under the machine’s rear passenger side tire (Figure 1). His two coworkers attempted to get the machine off of him by placing a car jack at the location of the tire that pinned the decedent and attaching a chain to the loader arm and the pickup truck they arrived in. When they were unable to lift the machine from him, the coworkers called for emergency response. Upon emergency response arrival at the site, his vital signs were absent. Emergency response personnel began the recovery operation.

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Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015