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Landscaper died when the arms of a skid-steer loader crushed his upper body and head.

Michigan State University
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 04MI066, 2005 Mar; :1-6
On May 27, 2004, a 27-year-old male landscape supervisor was killed when the lowering arms of a skid-steer loader crushed his head and upper body. The victim and his crew were clearing the back yard and uprooting small diameter trees and tree stumps for a newly constructed house. The victim was operating a Case brand model 1845C skid-steer loader equipped with a 73-inch bucket to uproot small diameter (one to two inches) trees and tree stumps. Although this was an unwitnessed incident, the following scenario has been developed based on routine work practices as indicated by company personnel. To uproot the tree involved in this incident, he wrapped a 16-foot 3/8-inch binder chain around the base of the tree and wrapped the other end of the chain around the bucket's stabilizing bar. He placed the skid steer in reverse. As he was backing up, he raised the bucket to lift the tree roots from the ground. After removing the tree and with the bucket in the air, he raised the skid steer's safety bar and exited the cab. Standing on the ground under the raised bucket, he attempted to unwrap the chain from the tree. He was unable to remove the chain because of the tension on the chain caused by the raised bucket. He reached into the cab, lowered the safety bar, and began to operate the controls to lower the bucket. As the bucket lowered, he was unable to remove himself from beneath the raised arms of the skid steer and he was crushed between the skid-steer loader's arms and frame. A fellow worker heard a sound, turned around and saw the victim. He notified another worker, who ran to the residence where the crew was working. The homeowner called 9-1-1. His fellow workers raised the skid-steer loader arms and began CPR. Emergency response arrived and declared the victim dead at the scene. Recommendations: 1. Construction employers should develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive accident prevention program that includes, but is not limited to, training in hazard recognition and avoidance. 2. Operators of skid-steer loaders should be trained in and follow the manufacturer's recommended procedures to safely operate, service, maintain, and exit the skid-steer loader. 3. Employers should ensure that skid-steer loader operators follow the procedures for which they have been trained, including prohibiting them from working underneath raised lift arms if an approved lift arm support is not available. 4. Company management should consider developing a joint health and safety committee. 5. Employers should establish and enforce a thorough vehicle maintenance and inspection program.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-5; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Construction; Construction-workers; Training; Equipment-operators; Health-programs; Safety-programs; Lawn-and-garden-equipment
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-04MI066; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-521205
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division