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Laborer dies after being crushed by Caterpillar that fell from railroad trestle.

Minnesota 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 98MN044, 1999 Mar; :1-5
A 17-year-old male laborer (victim) died when he was crushed beneath a Caterpillar that fell from a railroad trestle. On the day of the incident, the victim and ten other workers were working along a section of railroad tracks that was being dismantled. The victim and two coworkers used a Caterpillar equipped with a bucket to pick up steel rail connector plates that were scattered along the railroad bed. Shortly before the incident, the Caterpillar was driven toward a wooden trestle that had a catwalk along one side. The catwalk was designed to support railroad workers walking across the trestle when railroad equipment was stopped on the trestle. As the Caterpillar neared the trestle, the victim and another coworker climbed onto it, one on each side of the cab. When the Caterpillar reached the trestle, it wasn't centered on the load bearing portion of the trestle but instead its right track traveled onto the catwalk. When the caterpillar reached the middle of the trestle, the catwalk began to break. The operator accelerated the caterpillar but before he reached the end of the trestle, a portion of the catwalk collapsed. The passenger riding on the right side of the caterpillar was thrown into a shallow creek at the base of the trestle. The Caterpillar tipped on its side and landed on the victim. The operator and the other passenger climbed from the scene and ran to a nearby road. They stopped a passing motorist and requested that a call be placed to emergency personnel. Emergency personnel arrived shortly after they were contacted, removed the victim from beneath the Caterpillar and pronounced him dead at the scene. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. minors should not be employed in any occupation identified by state or federal agencies as hazardous or detrimental to their well-being; 2. equipment operators should never allow passengers to ride along on equipment; and 3. employers should design, develop, and implement a comprehensive safety program.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Safety-programs; Equipment-operators; Children; Railroad-industry; Railroads; Demolition-industry
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-98MN044; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507283
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Minnesota Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division