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Equipment Operator Fatally Crushed by the Bucket of a Front-End Loader at a Scrap Yard, New York

New York Case Report: 18NY019


On May 26, 2018, a 27-year-old equipment operator at a metal recycling company was crushed and killed by the bucket of a front-end loader at the company’s scrap yard. At the time of the incident, the operator was using the front-end loader to consolidate a ferrous scrap pile. At 9:17 a.m., while the loader was backing away from the pile with the bucket in the raised position, some of the scrap slid down the pile.

Key contributing factors identified in this investigation include:

  • Procedures for controlling hazardous energies, i.e. lockout/tagout or “LOTO” were not established for front-end loader operations.
  • Operators were not trained on installation of the lift arm lock.
  • The loader’s front wheel fenders were removed without consulting the manufacturer.
  • Yard management was not available at the time of the incident.
  • No training on hazard identification was provided.
  • No job hazard analysis was conducted.

NY FACE investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:

  • Develop and implement a LOTO program for front-end loader operation to control hazardous energies and prevent crushing injuries.
  • Ensure that all equipment operators receive proper and adequate training on LOTO procedures.
  • Employers should ensure that all equipment operates without missing parts, and that all equipment modifications are approved by manufacturers.
  • Employers should ensure that hydraulic hoses and threaded couplings on front-end loaders are in safe and working condition.
  • Employers should develop and implement an equipment inspection program to ensure that front-end loaders are inspected daily and needed repairs and maintenance are done timely.
  • Employers should conduct a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) to identify high risk jobs and to determine appropriate employee training on recognized hazards and safe work procedures.
  • Employers should establish a safety and health management system (SHMS) to effectively control and reduce workplace hazards, risks, and injuries.
  • Front-end loader manufacturers should develop lift cylinder guards to protect cylinders and hydraulics from mechanical damage.

Equipment Operator Fatally Crushed by the Bucket of a Front-End Loader at a Scrap Yard – New York [PDF 2,409 KB]