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Construction laborer dies after being pinned between the bucket of a mini-excavator and an air compressor - North Carolina.

Higgins DN
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 2000-10, 2000 Jun; :1-6
A 43-year-old male construction laborer (the victim) died and a bystander was injured after they were pinned between the bucket of a mini-excavator and an air compressor. It was the victim's first day at work for a masonry contractor whose crew was removing and replacing a wheelchair ramp leading up to the side entrance of a restaurant. According to the coroner's report, just prior to the incident, the victim had taken a break from breaking up asphalt and concrete and was standing to the side watching the excavator operator remove debris. As he watched, the operator swung the excavator around and the excavator bucket struck an air line attached to an air compressor, pulling it loose. The air line tangled around the bucket. The victim, a coworker, and a bystander, who was a friend of the excavator operator, entered the area between the excavator and the air compressor to see what had happened. The bucket suddenly became disentangled and started to swing to the right. The operator moved the controls and the bucket moved back to the left toward the air compressor, pinning the victim and the bystander between the bucket and the compressor. Workers notified the general contractor, who was working inside the restaurant. He called 911 at 2:55 p.m. According to the police report, police and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel arrived at 2:59 p.m. EMS personnel immediately attended to the bystander, who had a scalp laceration, and then attended to the victim. EMS transported both individuals to a local hospital. The victim was admitted and emergency surgery was performed. Internal bleeding caused by compression injuries sustained in the incident could not be stopped and he died the following morning. The bystander was treated in the emergency room for a scalp laceration and released. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1) provide workers with training in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the required safe work practices that apply to their work environments; 2) ensure that equipment operators have been trained to use the equipment they are assigned to operate at the job site. Additional notes/recommendations; 3) Rental companies should ensure that earth-moving equipment is functioning properly and that a manufacturer's operator's manual is supplied to customers at the time of rental.
Region 4; Occupational hazards; Traumatic injuries; Accident prevention; Safety education; Safety measures; Safety monitoring; Safety practices; Injury prevention; Machine operation; Machine operators; Construction Search
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division