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Truck Mechanic Pinned By Truck’s Sway Bar and Link, Michigan

Michigan Case Report: 13MI149
Report Date: 3/4/2015


In fall 2013, a male truck mechanic in his 40s died when a pickup truck fell on him. The decedent was in the process of checking the truck for an oil leak. The truck had been driven up a slight incline and parked with the front wheels on a cement apron surrounding a building. The front wheels were positioned several inches east of a 5-inch deep trench and the back wheels on dirt in a concave-shaped 3-inch trench. There was a consistent elevation decline from the building to the west to allow for water drainage. The decedent started the truck, placed it in neutral, and partially depressed the parking brake. No wheel chocks were used to prevent truck movement. At some point while lying on his back working under the truck, the truck moved backward, with the front wheels entering a 5-inch deep dirt trench. The truck’s sway bar and link to the rear of the front axle fell on the decedent’s chest, pinning him against the cement (Figure 1). A building employee had left approximately one hour earlier and had noted the truck running. When he returned, the truck was still running, so he looked under the truck. Seeing the decedent, he screamed for help. Emergency response was summoned. A jack was used to raise the truck. The decedent was transported to a local hospital and declared dead.

Factors which contributed to this fatal incident include:

  • Vehicle not blocked from inadvertent movement
  • Unsafe work practices.

Truck Mechanic Pinned By Truck’s Sway Bar and Link, Michigan [PDF 160 KB]