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Worker dies after being crushed between rock spreader and pneumatic roller in Minnesota.

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 00MN030, 2001 Apr; :1-5
A 36-year-old male worker (victim) died of injuries he sustained when he was pinned between a pneumatic roller and a rock spreader. On the day of the incident he was working as a member of a road resurfacing crew. His employer had been contracted to apply a surface seal coat to 16 miles of paved road. The seal coat consisted of liquid asphalt sprayed on the road and crushed rock spread over the liquid asphalt. Equipment involved in this incident included a rock spreader and a pneumatic roller. The spreader had a computer rate control (CRC) unit that controlled the rate of application of crushed rock. The roller was a nine-wheel pneumatic roller equipped with hydraulic brakes that were activated via a foot pedal. The unit was also equipped with a hand operated emergency brake. The workers began by applying a layer of seal coat to a "test area" of the road. A liquid asphalt tankers was used to spray liquid asphalt to the test area. A dump truck filled with chipped rock was backed up to the rock spreader. The spreader operator drove the spreader forward pushing the gravel truck across the test area. After crossing the test area, the workers realized that the layer of crushed rock coming from the spreader was not uniform. The spreader operator disengaged the unit and backed it off the test area. After the operator parked the spreader, he dismounted and walked to the front of the unit to a computer control panel. While he attempted to determine what was wrong with the CRC unit, an operator of a pneumatic roller packed the rocks that had been spread over the test area. The operator drove his roller onto the test area with the unit facing away from the parked spreader. Due to the incline of the road the roller traveled up a slight incline and was backed down the incline as the operator packed the seal coat in the test area. As the operator approached the end of the test area near the parked spreader, the roller's manual transmission slipped out of gear and the roller began to roll toward the spreader. The operator stepped on the hydraulic brake foot pedal but was unable to stop the roller. He attempted to pull the emergency brake while he also yelled to workers to clear the area. Other workers ran from the area however the victim apparently did not hear the call to clear the area. The victim was crushed when the roller struck the front of the spreader. The roller operator immediately shifted it into gear and drove the roller forward. The victim fell to the ground and other workers immediately placed a call to emergency personnel. Emergency personnel arrived at the scene shortly after being notified. They transported the victim to a local hospital where he died shortly after he arrived. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. employers should designate an on-site worker who is responsible for warning pedestrian workers in the event of an emergency involving nearby mobile equipment; 2. employers should ensure that equipment is always maintained in the proper working condition; 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; Construction; Construction-equipment; Construction-workers; Road-construction; Road-surfacing
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
FACE-00MN030; 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