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Operator dies from crushing injuries after being pinned between a track drill control console and exterior wall of courthouse - Tennessee.

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 2005-09, 2007 Feb; :1-15
On June 15, 2005, a 58-year-old track drill operator (the victim) was killed when he was pinned and crushed between the control console of a track drill and the exterior wall of a courthouse. While standing between the drill control console and the exterior wall, the victim drilled four holes into the ground. While attempting to drill the fifth hole, it appears that the victim inadvertently activated the controls causing the boom to extend and pin him between the control console and the wall. Hearing the engine of the track drill racing, a laborer found the victim unconscious and pinned against the wall. The laborer ran to get a track hoe operator for assistance. After arriving back at the track drill, the track hoe operator and the laborer ran to get another track hoe operator who knew how to operate the track drill. The first track hoe operator then ran to notify the foreman, while the second track hoe operator backed the track drill off of the victim. The foreman called 911 and then checked the victim. Approximately 3 minutes later, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded and determined that the victim's chest had been crushed and he was not breathing. The victim was transported by ambulance to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. ensure equipment operators properly use the equipment they are assigned to operate including making operators aware of potential "pinch points;" 2. develop a pre-job safety plan for the work site which includes hazard recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions, and ensure that it is implemented and reviewed with workers prior to each day's work. Additionally, equipment designers and manufacturers should: 1. consider adding equipment control guards to prevent the inadvertent operation of equipment controls; 2. consider including an interlock device (panic bar) to automatically shut down energy when pressure is applied to the protective bar on the drill control console; 3. consider the intended use of a machine and include appropriate safety warnings in the instruction manual as well as warning labels on the machine to address the hazard of being caught between the machine and stationary objects. Although the following recommendations may not have prevented this fatality, NIOSH concluded that as a matter of prudent safe operations, equipment designers and manufacturers should consider standardizing the location of various individual controls within control panels located on the same or similar machines and increasing the size of the emergency stop buttons.
Region-4; Accident-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Occupational-hazards; Traumatic-injuries; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Equipment-operators; Equipment-design; Machine-operators; Machine-guarding; Surveillance
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division