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Apprentice lineman killed when caught in trencher.

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
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 98AK023, 1999 Jan; :1-11
A 26-year-old apprentice lineman was killed when he was caught in a trencher. The apprentice (the victim) was removing a small berm by shoveling it back into a partially dug trench. The incident was not witnessed. It was surmised that the victim either lost his balance and fell toward the active machinery or the digging chain caught his clothing and pulled him into the trench. An electrical engineer and an inspector (the witnesses) standing at the opposite end of the trench noticed a rapid movement and something bright thrown in the air (the victim's hard hat) near the trencher. They immediately called to the operator. The trencher was stopped and moved away from the trench. Co-workers went into the trench to locate the victim as one of the witnesses called on his cellular phone for emergency assistance. The victim was located and pronounced dead at the scene. Based on the findings of the investigation, to prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure appropriate trencher attachments are used; 2. Ensure workers maintain a minimum 10-foot safety zone around an active digging chain and conform to all safe work practices for machines; 3. Ensure that a job safety analysis has been performed on all work-related tasks. Additionally, owners of early model trenching equipment should consider installing safety placards that illustrate dangers associated with an active trencher.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-10; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Training; Machine-operators; Equipment-operators; Electrical-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-98AK023; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-007089
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division