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Serious injuries to dozer operators: a discussion of their characteristics and ways to reduce injury risk.

Wiehagen WJ; Mayton AG; Friend TL; Jaspal JS; Turin FC
Trans Soc Min Metall Explor 2003 Jan; 312:57-64
This paper describes the serious injuries that have occurred to bulldozer operators working at domestic coal, metal and nonmetal mines in the United States. A serious injury is defined as one that results in either a fatality or in lost work time. Examined were 873 injury records compiled by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The time period covered was 1988 through 1997. These injuries resulted in 18 fatalities and 31,866 lost work days. All of these injuries occurred to dozer operators while they were performing common production tasks. An injury classification system was developed to code the narrative information that describes the circumstances surrounding the injuries. Jolts and jars accounted for 604 or 70% of the serious injuries to bulldozer operators, and jolts and jars accounted for 75% of the workdays lost. Vertical jars comprised the largest set (354 incidents) of jolting and jarring injuries. In more than half of these incidents the operator was backing up the dozer. Working near an edge carries significant risk for fatal injuries. Of 116 incidents where the dozer fell over an edge, rolled over or fell into a hidden void, 14 (12%) resulted in fatal injuries. In cases where the dozer operator either jumped or was thrown out of the cab in a fall over or rollover, seven out of 17 of the operators were killed. This study finds that further reductions in injury risk would require more widespread use of seat belts; consideration (and maintenance) of the seat and seat suspension systems that might reduce injury risk from jolts and jars; research interventions to assess the effect of alternative engineering designs to dampen or isolate the effects of shock and vibration; and continued attention to skilled performance, i.e., the integration of hazard awareness, recognition and response with dozer operational skills.
Coal-miners; Coal-mining; Mining-industry; Miners; Statistical-analysis; Workplace-monitoring; Mining-equipment; Injury-prevention; Accident-prevention; Truck-drivers; Traumatic-injuries
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Yernberg WR
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration
Page last reviewed: September 24, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division