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Heavy Equipment Operator Killed When Ejected From Cab

Michigan Case Report: 10MI038

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.


In the spring of 2010, a male heavy equipment operator in his 30’s died when he was ejected from the driver’s seat of a Daewoo loader equipped with a tree fork, then pinned under the driver’s side rear tire. The decedent, who was an authorized operator of the loader, fueled the loader at the fueling station located at the top of a hill. After fueling, he proceeded down the steep hill’s logging road to begin work at the bottom of the hill. It is unknown if, at the fueling station, he attached his seat belt. It appears that at one point during his descent, the decedent either lost control of the loader or attempted to apply the brakes, which were non-functional. The loader began to gather speed and began to “bunny hop” or “buck” after it struck a dirt berm. The loader’s fork marks were found on the path of his descent. Witnesses observed the decedent “bouncing around” in the operator cab as the loader proceeded down the slope. When the decedent and the machine reached the bottom of the hill, the decedent was ejected either through the front windshield or the operator door. The loader struck an excavator parked at the base of the hill, rolled back, and came to rest. The decedent was pinned under the driver’s side rear tire. Emergency response was called and the decedent was declared dead at the scene.

Heavy Equipment Operator Killed When Ejected From Cab [PDF 272 KB]