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Truck driver dies when straw bales fall off truck and strike him.

Michigan State University
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 05MI123, 2007 Jun; :1-14
On November 3, 2005, a 62-year-old male truck driver died when straw bales he had delivered and was unloading fell from the truck trailer onto him. The decedent was contracted to haul a truck trailer loaded with 3- x 3- x 8-foot rectangular straw bales weighing 500-600 pounds apiece to a site 80 miles away. The bales had shifted during the trip from the originating farm to the purchasing farm. We postulate that after arriving at the delivery site, the decedent, beginning on the driver's side at the cab end of the trailer, removed each bale stack's ratchet binder. At the rear of the trailer, some of the stacked bales in the last row fell from the trailer to the ground after he removed this last ratchet binder. The purchasing farm's worker #1 transported some of the fallen bales from the rear of the trailer to the storage area. We postulate that the decedent, while standing on the passenger side of the trailer, began to roll up the securement straps. It appears that while rolling one of the straps, the decedent was struck by a falling bale. Worker #1 noticed that more bales had fallen to the ground. Because he could not see the decedent, he called for help. Another worker who arrived at the incident scene found the decedent under a bale on the ground. 911 was called. Another worker arrived and used a forklift to remove the bale from on top of the decedent. Emergency response arrived and the decedent was taken to a local hospital and where he was declared dead. Recommendations: 1. Employers should ensure employees use the correct roof brackets and are trained and follow the "best safe work practice" when installing a roof bracket scaffold platform - using the correct roof bracket for the roof pitch and securing the bracket by 16d nails anchored into a roof rafter. 2. Farm employers should ensure cargo subject to motor vehicle cargo securement rules is appropriately secured in a manner to meet or exceed these requirements. 3. Farm employers should develop a cargo securement assessment protocol upon arrival at the destination and develop unloading procedures specific to shifted loads, such as additional means of load support prior to unloading. 4. Farm employers should ensure that all loads conform to the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act for cargo transport width and height requirements.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Truck-drivers; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Equipment-operators; Safety-programs
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-05MI123; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008466; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-521205
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: December 17, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division