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Construction laborer killed after being entangled on a rotating directional drilling machine pipe.

New Jersey Department of Health
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 95NJ030, 1995 Aug; :1-7
On March 7, 1995, a 28-year-old male construction laborer was killed when his clothing became entangled on a rotating drilling pipe. The incident occurred during a directional drilling operation when a 640 foot-long shaft for a utility pipe was being drilled under a major highway. This process used a specially designed drill rig that drills a horizontal shaft that is directed by the drill operator. In this operation, the shaft started at the drill rig at the side of the road, passed down and under the highway, and was directed upwards until the drill bit emerged from the ground on the opposite side of the highway. The drilling had been completed and the crew was enlarging the shaft by pulling the drilling pipe back and forth through the shaft. The victim and his co-worker were attaching lengths of pipe to the rotating drill pipe as it was pulled back toward the rig. The victim was holding a length of pipe that started to turn as the threads connected. A loose end of his clothing wrapped around the pipe, catching hold and pulling the victim around it, killing him. NJDOH FACE investigators concluded that, in order to prevent similar incidents in the future, these safety guidelines should be followed: 1. Workers should not wear loose clothing when working near moving machinery. 2. Employers should ensure that work crews are in communication at all times. 3. Directional drilling machine manufacturers should consider designing an emergency stop device that can be operated from a remote location.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Work-practices; Region-2; Safety-clothing; Communication-workers; Construction; Construction-workers
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-95NJ030; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-207088
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
New Jersey Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division