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Auto salvage yard worker crushed while working under car - Iowa.

Iowa Department of Public 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 95IA033, 1996 Mar; :1-3
A 27 year old mechanic working for an auto recycler was fatally injured while working under a wrecked car in an auto salvage lot. The man was removing a front wheel assembly while standing under the car which was supported by forks of a large 4-wheel drive rubber-tired forklift truck. The victim was assisted by a friend who was not employed by the salvage yard and was not adequately experienced with fork lift operation. The victim had removed lug nuts and the axle nut of the right wheel assembly and was standing under the front end of the automobile. He grabbed the undercarriage and swung his feet up to kick off the wheel. At this point the car began to tilt to the front. The assistant yelled to the victim, but it was too late, for the car rapidly slid forward and fell pinning the victim to the ground causing fatal head injuries. The back end of the car remained supported by the left fork. The assistant mounted the forklift and lowered the rear of the car, then radioed to other employees for help. He stated in an interview that he noticed a gap between the car and the right fork of the forklift, but didn't think anything of it and didn't mention this to the victim. The wrecked car was not secured by safety chains or other means to the forklift, and there was no supports to prevent the car from falling. The victim was killed instantly from head injuries. When emergency personnel arrived, they were instructed to immediately transport the body to the hospital in hopes of saving vital organs for donation. Recommendations following our investigation were as follows: 1. Auto mechanics should not work under cars when they are elevated and supported only by a forklift. 2. Salvage yards should use safety chains or other means to secure autos when they are elevated and moved by forklifts. 3. Salvage yards should provide safe dismantling areas where cars are adequately supported.
Region-7; 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; Equipment-design; Equipment-reliability; Mechanics
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-95IA033; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-708674
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Iowa Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division