Orchard Laborer Dies when Crushed Between a Motor Grader and Semi-Truck in Washington State

Washington Case Report: 09WA047
Release Date: February 11, 2013

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 September 27, 2009, a 38-year-old orchard worker was fatally injured when he was crushed between a motor grader and a semi-truck with a trailer. The semi-truck, which was at the orchard to pick up apple bins, was unable to maintain traction and got stuck while attempting to travel up a gravel orchard road with a 6-7% grade. The worker and the semi-truck driver were attempting to tow the stuck semi-truck with the assistance of a motor grader operator. The operator was reversing the motor grader downhill into position so the worker could attach the chain from the front of the semi-truck to the rear of the motor grader. According to the operator of the motor grader, he attempted to use the brakes about 40 feet uphill from the semi-truck but they failed, causing the motor grader to collide with the front of the semi-truck. According to witnesses, the motor grader momentarily stopped about seven feet from the semi-truck, and then suddenly moved backwards crushing the worker and semi-truck driver between the two vehicles. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was contacted and the worker and truck driver were transported to the hospital. Approximately 1 hour after the incident the worker died.

Orchard Laborer Dies when Crushed Between a Motor Grader and Semi-Truck in Washington Statepdf icon [PDF 1.06 MB]

Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015