A 36 year old male county road equipment operator died from injuries suffered when the pavement roller he was operating struck the rear end of a belly-dump asphalt carrier while travelling from a work site at the end of a county road improvement project. The two vehicles had been on a patching job approximately 90 miles away from the county seat. The truck had dumped a load of asphalt at the patch site and had driven up to the top of a hill to turn around while the victim operated a pavement compactor to roll the asphalt. After turning around, the truck drove past the job site and was slowing to a stop to wait for the victim to finish, so that they could drive together to a nearby staging area to park their vehicles. The victim completed his job and started after the truck at the highest possible speed of the machine (approximately 13 mph). Neither the truck driver nor his passenger saw the victim leave the job site and enter the roadway. The victim apparently did not realize that the truck was slowing or properly judge the distance between the two vehicles. The pavement compactor/roller struck the protruding "stinger" at the rear of the truck, causing the roller to "articulate" (bend in the middle with the front and back rollers moving from parallel to perpendicular), ejecting the operator. The roller than began a circular movement, running over the victim and continuing in a circular pattern. The truck passenger, feeling the shock of the collision, ran to the rear of the truck to see what had happened, saw the victim lying on the edge of the road, and tried to pull him out of the path of the machine while the truck driver attempted to climb on the still-circling machine to get it stopped before it ran over the victim a second time. They called for medical help and a life flight aircraft arrived in approximately 30 minutes. The victim was conscious and alert during the entire time. He tried to get up but the driver and passenger kept him laying down. The victim was transported to a major hospital in the central part of the state, where he was received approximately 1 1/2 hours after the incident occurred. Emergency treatment was provided en-route from the incident scene and in the hospital emergency room. He was awake and able to communicate by hand motions, but could not talk due to multiple face injuries. The victim expired in the hospital approximately two hours after being received there, and about 3 1/2 hours after the incident occurred. Results of a drug screen determined the existence of Cannabinoids in the urine and blood, indicating the use of marijuana within hours of the incident. Employers may be able to minimize the potential for occurrence of this type of incident through the following precautions: 1. Maintain visual contact with machinery that is scheduled to be moved to another location. 2. Establish and enforce strict policy regarding use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs, to include employee counseling or drug screening where appropriate. 3. Provide employee incentives to refuse to work with a co-worker who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Region-8; 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; Construction-industry; Construction-equipment; Road-surfacing; Road-construction