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Laborer dies after being struck by detached excavator bucket.

Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
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 03WI003, 2002 Aug; :1-4
A 39-year-old laborer (the victim) died when he was struck by the bucket of a hydraulic excavator. The victim was part of a construction company crew that was trenching for sewer and water lines in a new development, using an excavator equipped with a quick-disconnect bucket-coupler to excavate the trench. The victim had entered the trench to measure the depth, while the excavator operator switched buckets from a narrow bucket to a larger one. After he attached the larger bucket, the operator raised the bucket to work on an adjacent trench. The bucket suddenly disconnected from the bucket arms, fell to the edge of the trench and rolled into the hole onto the victim. The operator immediately saw the victim was injured, and called 911 from a cell phone. He used a chain to pull the bucket away from the victim with the backhoe. EMS responders and Med Flight responders arrived within several minutes. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The FACE investigator concluded that, to prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Install and maintain positive locks on quick-disconnect equipment according to manufacturers' specifications and recommendations. 2. Train excavator operators to conduct visual and operational checks after changing attachments. 3. Prohibit workers on foot from entering the swing area of hydraulic excavators until they signal the operator to shut down the machine and receive acknowledgement from the operator.
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; Equipment-reliability; Training
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-03WI003; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507081
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division