Farmer’s Head and Neck Crushed Between Semi Trailer and Loading/Unloading Chute, Michigan
Michigan Case Report: 10MI200
Report Date: 05/29/2012
In the Fall of 2010, a male farmer in his 50s died when his head and neck were crushed while directing a backing semi tractor/trailer to a wooden chute providing loading/unloading access to a pig storage building. The unit was delivering pigs. The trailer transporting the pigs was constructed so the pigs could be unloaded single file into the wooden chute. Due to layout of the farm’s driveways, the semi could not back straight into the chute area but had to back in on an angle, which made it more difficult for the trailer to be in alignment with the chute. The animal delivery occurred in the early morning. The decedent, after conversing with the semi driver, walked back to the chute and at some point, climbed onto the chute floor. As the semi was backing to the southeast, it appears the decedent placed his head between the backing trailer and the chute wall, most likely to determine proper alignment of the backing trailer. During the backing of the semi, the driver stated he could see the decedent’s hand waving him back. The decedent’s head and neck were crushed by the trailer against the loading chute. The decedent was declared dead at the scene.
- Rock pile in backing area
- Design of backing area causing truck to come in on an angle
- Chute design
- Decedent in path of backing vehicle and not in full view of semi driver
- No spotter
- The driver of a backing vehicle and any worker on foot (including a spotter) should be able to view each other in the vehicle’s mirrors. If the driver cannot see the worker on foot, the driver should immediately stop the vehicle.
- Farmers should conduct a hazard assessment to identify safety hazards/issues and develop a remediation strategy. In this incident, safety issues such as the rock pile location, design of the pig chute, design of the driveway access, and working alone in the vehicle’s blind spot were contributing factors and may have been identified in a hazard assessment.
- As part of the hazard assessment, farmers should determine areas on the farm where agricultural equipment/other vehicles, such as semi-tractor/trailers that transport product to/from the farm, will be backed up and develop a backing vehicle protocol for these areas.
- Trucking employers should determine the feasibility and effectiveness of mounting an after-market backup camera system on the semi trailer to assist the driver to safely back the unit.