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Machinist dies when he came into contact with a rotating vertical cutting head of a gantry mill.

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 08MI062, 2010 Jan; :1-10
In the summer of 2008, a 48-year-old male machinist died when he came into contact with a rotating vertical cutting head of a gantry mill. The decedent programmed the gantry mill to begin a milling operation. Leaving the remote pendant attached to the gantry mill frame, he walked approximately seven feet to the home position of the cutting head near the south end of the part being machined. The head descended to perform the cut and then moved at cut height west to east to align with the starting point of the cut. The head began traveling north into the material. At some point during the head movement, the decedent came into contact with the rotating head and his body was drawn into the cutting head. The decedent's activities leading to the event were un-witnessed. Possible activity scenarios include: a) using an air hose/blow gun to remove chips, b) preparing/finishing laser measurements to ensure cutting accuracy, or c) preparing to apply lubricant to the cutting area. He sustained both head and upper torso injuries. A coworker observed the decedent being drawn into the cutting head. The coworker ran to the machine and yelled for help, but because he did not know the machine's operation, did not hit the emergency stop. A representative from the firm for whom the part was being manufactured was nearby taking measurements. He ran to the incident scene and activated the emergency stop. The owner was called to the scene. The owner, part representative and coworker initiated CPR and attempted to stop the bleeding. Emergency response arrived and the decedent was transported by helicopter to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead. Recommendations: 1.) Employers should require that cutting head movement be stopped prior to the operator performing work near the point of operation. 2.) Machine manufacturers should include an emergency stop on pendant remotes. If the remote does not have an emergency stop, machine owners should contact the manufacturer to inquire if the remote could be retrofitted with an emergency stop. 3.) The employer should consider applying a non-skid/anti-slip coating or another method (tape, mats, etc.) to increase the operator's traction when walking to the point of operation from the operator's station. 4.) Employers should inform appropriate employees about the operation of each piece of machinery and when to activate the emergency stop in case of injury or malfunction. 5.) Employers should establish a health and safety (H&S) committee as a part of their health and safety program. In addition, MIFACE recommends: 6.) The employer should consider a vacuum system instead of compressed air to remove chips from the machining area. 7.) The employer should consider investigating whether a wireless remote pendant for operator use is applicable. 8,) The employer should activate the gantry mill's closed circuit TV camera.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Machine-operation; Machine-operators; Machine-shop-workers; Milling-industry; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-health; Occupational-safety-programs; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Surface-properties; Training; Traumatic-injuries; Warning-systems; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-operations; Work-performance; Work-practices; Author Keywords: Machine; Entanglement; Gantry Mill
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-08MI062; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008466
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division