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Driver Crushed by Rollaway Woodchip Truck – Washington

Washington Case Report: 22WA5252
Release Date: April 12, 2022

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.


Around midnight on July 29, 2019, a 45-year-old semi-truck driver was fatally crushed by his woodchip truck when it rolled away. The driver was at a sawmill in Washington State picking up woodchips for delivery to a pulp mill in British Columbia. After loading the chips, he parked his truck on a paved road under a fall protection tarping station. The road had a 2% downgrade. The driver did not set the truck’s parking brake before exiting the cab to access the top of the trailer to prepare his load for tarping.

While the driver was walking on top of his load near the back of his trailer, his truck began to roll forward. He ran toward a ladder at the front of the trailer that went down to a walkway behind the tractor. While trying to descend the ladder, he went over the edge of his trailer and fell to the road. The only other driver at the mill left the site without seeing the incident. Almost two hours later, another truck driver entered the site and found the driver fatally crushed under his tractor’s left front drive wheels.

Driver Crushed by Rollaway Woodchip Truck – Washington [PDF 2,575 KB]