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 2003-06, 2003 Aug; :1-10
On January 6, 2003, a 25-year-old male Hispanic carpenter (the victim) died after being crushed between the loader bucket of a backhoe/loader and a concrete building. The victim was part of a three-man crew assigned to cover a window with plywood. The victim and a coworker climbed into the loader bucket of the backhoe/loader with the plywood. After the loader bucket was raised to the window, the backhoe/loader operator noticed that one of his coworkers was losing grip on the plywood. The operator, who had placed the loader bucket controls into neutral, jumped off the backhoe/loader to assist. As he jumped, the strap of his fall protection harness, worn as required by company policy, became entangled on the loader bucket control lever, moving it to the dumping position. When the bucket tilted forward, one coworker jumped off the bucket unharmed; the victim, who remained in the bucket, was pinned and crushed against the building. The backhoe operator reversed the backhoe/loader to free the victim. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel arrived within 5 minutes of the 911 call and transported the victim to a local hospital emergency room where he was pronounced dead. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1) develop, implement and enforce a written policy which requires the use of specified types of working platforms for elevated tasks; 2) develop, implement and enforce a written policy that prohibits employees from riding in or working from backhoe/loader buckets; 3) conduct a prework meeting each day to discuss the work to be performed, potential safety hazards and safe work procedures and encourage workers to communicate with their supervisor whenever an unexpected situation occurs; 4) develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive training program that provides all workers with training in the proper use of personal protective equipment; and warn workers that inappropriate use of PPE could create safety hazards; 5) ensure that equipment operators are trained in the proper use of the equipment they are assigned to operate and ensure that an evaluation of the equipment operatorís performance in the workplace is part of the training program; 6) ensure that workers who are part of a multilingual workforce comprehend safety training and follow safety instructions required for their assigned tasks; 7) establish a policy that equipment keys are issued by a designated person only to employees authorized to operate equipment .