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A plumber repairing a water line in a trench in Texas died when he was struck by the bucket of a backhoe.

Texas Workers' Compensation Commission
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 99TX390, 2000 Jun; :1-7
On October 4, 1999 a 47 year-old male plumber died when he was struck by the bucket of a backhoe while he was repairing a water line in a trench for a shopping center. The victim and an apprentice plumber were at the bottom of the trench removing straight and angled cast iron pipes and placing them in the backhoe bucket. The operator of the backhoe was an employee of the shopping center. The operator told the police investigator that when he released all controls, the bucket swerved to the left striking the victim on his left side and pinning him against the trench wall. The operator called EMS at 11:26AM, who arrived at the scene in 3 minutes. The victim had no pulse or respiration. EMS administered CPR. Ambulance personnel removed the victim from the hole and transported him to a hospital where he was pronounced dead of blunt force injuries to the chest. The manner of death was determined to be accidental. Hospital personnel told a police officer that death was caused by a ruptured myocardium (heart). The Texas FACE investigator concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure that backhoe operators shut down backhoes according to the manufacturer's directions and direct workers to remain an adequate distance from operating backhoes. 2. Designate a competent person to supervise trench activities. 3. Ensure that workers are protected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system.
Region-6; 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; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Safety-programs; Safety-personnel; Plumbers; Plumbing; Equipment-operators; Construction-industry; Construction-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-99TX390; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-613936
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Texas Workers' Compensation Commission
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division