NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Roll-off container truck driver electrocuted when raised tilt frame contacted overhead line.

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 08MI005, 2009 Jan; :1-11
On January 18, 2008, a 45-year-old male truck driver for a roll-off container company was electrocuted when the tilt frame he had raised to load a full 40-cubic-yard roll-off container contacted energized 7,600-volt overhead power lines. He had deposited the empty 8-foot-high x 8-foot-wide x 22-foot-long roll-off container at the customer's property several days earlier. The decedent was dispatched to remove the full container from the property. He stood on the frozen ground holding the trailer's tilt frame lift controls in position to raise the tilt frame to load the full container onto the trailer. The controls were located near the front of the driver's side of the trailer. The tilt frame can extend to a height of approximately 31 feet above the ground. The overhead lines contacted were 29 feet 3 inches above the ground. When the tilt frame contacted the overhead wires, electrical current moved through the decedent's body from his left hand to ground through his left foot. The property owner was leveling scrap in the container while the decedent was raising the tilt frame. The property owner noticed a small brush fire at the end of the trailer. He jumped from the container and upon contact with the ground he felt a "tingle." He investigated further and saw that all the trailer tires were smoking. As he looked towards the driver's side cab of the truck he could see the decedent lying on the ground. Because of the fire, he moved the decedent away from the truck into a nearby wooded area and called 911. Emergency response arrived, and the decedent was declared dead at the scene. Recommendations: 1.) The employer should affix a dry non-conductive material using non-conductive insulators and fasteners at the very top of the tilt frame as a redundant safeguard prior to raising the tilt frame to prevent direct contact with an overhead line. 2.) Employers should stress hazard awareness regarding overhead power lines and routinely review the issue so that all employees are cognizant of these energized sources. 3.) Employers should train employees who work alone to conduct a jobsite survey (hazard assessment) to identify potential hazards before starting any job and to implement appropriate control measures. 4.) Equipment manufacturers should investigate the possibility of a retrofit of operating controls for boomed vehicles when designed for use from ground level to insulate the operator from the vehicle. Employers should develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive written safety program, and should include: 5.) a safety statement that management is committed to providing leadership to ensure a safe and healthful workplace, 6.) a safety policy that states "a driver will not place or position or pick up a roll-off container under a power line," and 7.) the development of a health and safety (H&S) committee. Employers should ensure that a responsible person such as a supervisor/manager periodically monitors workers who are assigned to remote locations. Employers with roll-off trailers as part of their fleet should: 8.) measure the raised tilt frame height of each of their trailers and post this height prominently in either the cab compartment and/or on the trailer near the operating levers, and 9.) inspect the trailers to ensure affixed signs warning of contact with overhead power lines are present and legible on a routine basis.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Electrocutions; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards; Safety-education; Safety-engineering; Safety-measures; Safety-personnel; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Training; Traumatic-injuries; Warning-signs; Work-operations; Work-practices
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-08MI005; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008466
Priority Area
Wholesale and Retail Trade; Services
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