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Construction laborer dies after being struck in the head by backhoe bucket - North Carolina.

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 2000-26, 2002 Mar; :1-6
On July 17, 2000, a 32-year-old construction laborer (the victim) died after being struck in the head by a backhoe bucket and pinned against the side of a residence. The victim was part of a two-man crew clearing earth away from the foundation footer of the residence to install a french drain around the perimeter of the house. The french drain was to rest on the 6 to 8 inches of footer protruding from underneath the cement blocks of the residence's foundation. The backhoe operator began digging an approximately 2-foot-wide by 2-foot-deep excavation around the perimeter of the foundation while the victim was using a hand shovel to remove any extra earth from the foundation footer after the backhoe passed through. Earth had been removed to a point approximately 9½ feet from the right of the steps when the victim realized that the amount of footer protruding was decreasing and would not be sufficient for the french drain to rest on. He motioned for the backhoe operator to look at the amount of footer that was protruding so they could determine the amount of extra earth to be removed. The operator lowered the backhoe's bucket to rest on a pile of earth approximately 8 feet from the victim, placed both the machine's transmission controls in neutral, set the parking brake, and dismounted the backhoe using the steps on the right side of the machine. After the correct amount of earth to be removed had been determined, the operator returned to the machine and climbed the left rear tire to access the cab. The operator adjusted the seat toward him and stepped over the top of the tire to sit down. While doing so, he inadvertently contacted the machine control that activated the boom swing toward the victim standing in the ditch. The boom struck the victim, pinning him against the house. The operator swung the boom away from the victim, dismounted the vehicle, and yelled to a nearby resident to call 911. He then removed the victim from the ditch and initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). When the emergency medical service (EMS) arrived, the operator moved the backhoe away from the residence to give the EMS personnel more room. EMS summoned personnel from the Medical Examiner's office who pronounced the victim dead at the scene. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences employers should: 1) provide all workers with training in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and in required safe work practices that apply to their work environments; 2) ensure that equipment operators have been trained in the proper use of the equipment they are assigned to operate at the job site in accordance with manufacturers' specifications and recommendations; 3) ensure that all machine controls are properly identified and that manufacturers' safety features are operable; 4) ensure that required personal protective equipment is used.
Region-4; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Construction; Construction-workers; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-safety-programs; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Traumatic-injuries
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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: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division