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Heavy equipment operator dies after being pinned between the boom and cab of an excavator.

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 06MI209, 2007 Aug; :1-7
On December 4, 2006, a 51-year-old male heavy equipment operator was killed when he was pinned between an excavator boom and an excavator cab. A demolition company (site contractor) had been hired by the site owner to demolish the building on the incident site and clear the site of debris. The decedent was a subcontractor for the site contractor. On the day of the incident, the decedent was at the incident site waiting for the site contractor to arrive. After speaking with the decedent and giving instructions to the excavator operator he had hired, the site contractor left the location. The excavator hired by the site contractor was operating a Caterpillar Model 225 DLC excavator. The excavator cab was positioned perpendicular to the tracks of the excavator with the boom in an upright position. The cab window adjacent to the excavator boom was broken. The decedent jumped onto the excavator tracks under the raised boom and leaned through the cab window. His torso/arm contacted the excavator boom joystick-type control lever and the boom lowered pinning the decedent between the boom and the cab frame. Emergency response was called and arrived and transported the decedent to a local hospital where he was declared dead. Recommendations: 1. Equipment owners should ensure machines are red-tagged and taken out of service immediately when safety features are compromised or the machine is in poor condition. 2. Employers should ensure that excavator operators have been trained on the use of the equipment. This training should include safety training in the importance of lowering the boom to a safe position with the bucket on the ground before permitting any site worker (including subcontractors) on foot to approach the machine. 3. Employers should instruct and ensure that any worker (including subcontractors) on foot approach the excavator only after they signal the operator to lower the bucket and the bucket is lowered to the ground, and the machine turned off. 4. Employers should develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive written safety program for all workers, which includes training in hazard recognition and the avoidance of unsafe conditions.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Safety-monitoring; Safety-programs; Training; Work-operations; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Construction-equipment; Construction-workers; Construction-industry; Equipment-operators
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-06MI209; 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