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Equipment operator dies from burns after a hydraulic line burst on a bulldozer and sprayed hydraulic fluid across the exhaust manifold - 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 2006-05, 2007 Jul; :1-9
On September 29, 2005, a 67-year-old male machine operator (the victim) died from burns sustained the day before when a fire ignited between the engine and the cab of a bulldozer he was operating. The victim was removing shale at a fill-dirt site. As the victim reversed the bulldozer, a hydraulic line burst, spraying hot hydraulic fluid across the exhaust manifold. A fire resulted and ignited the victim's clothing while he was seated in the cab. The victim bailed from the bulldozer. The 76-year-old owner, working nearby, rolled the victim on the ground and extinguished the fire by smothering it with loose dirt and shale. The owner helped the victim to his truck and called the office to have them call 911. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrived approximately seven minutes after receiving the call and transported the victim to an area hospital. After being treated at the hospital for approximately three hours, the victim was airlifted to another hospital and died the next day. The owner returned to check on the bulldozer and found it in a ravine with some light fire visible. After turning the bulldozer off and realizing he was burned, the owner drove himself to the hospital. The owner was admitted to the hospital for second and third degree burns over twenty percent of his body. He was airlifted the following day to another hospital, where he remained for three weeks before being discharged to a rehabilitation hospital for an additional three weeks. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Ensure that mobile construction equipment is inspected daily and that defective equipment is reported and removed from service until all needed repairs have been made; 2. Ensure that safety service notices issued by equipment manufacturers are followed and that the necessary modifications are performed; 3. Develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive written safety and health program for all workers which includes training in hazard recognition and the avoidance of unsafe conditions.
Region-4; Accident-prevention; Accident-analysis; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Construction-equipment; Equipment-reliability; Equipment-operators; Safety-practices; 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