Highway worker crushed by swinging backhoe boom

Oregon Case Report:07OR017
Release Date: January 2009

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.


On July 1, 2007, a 47-year-old road construction worker was killed while working on the ground alongside a backhoe. The worker was a journeyman equipment operator working together with an apprentice, who operated the backhoe. The two road workers were preparing to pull pins from concrete barricades along the roadside, so they could be moved. The journeyman had been on the job with this company only 2 days, and the two workers had never worked together before. The journeyman retrieved two heavy steel pin pullers and a chain from the front loader bucket and walked to the rear of the backhoe, where he tossed one of the pin pullers into the cab. The pin puller fell on a foot pedal that controlled the backhoe boom swing, and the boom instantly swung sideways and crushed the journeyman operator against the raised rear stabilizer. The apprentice operator heard the journeyman yell and swiveled to the rear, where he saw the heavy pin on top of the foot-pedal control. He swung the boom back to its neutral position to free the journeyman and called for emergency help. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015