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Volunteer fire captain dies from injuries received after a brush truck undergoing maintenance strikes and pins him against a wall - Indiana.

Wertman SC
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 F2010-37, 2011 Apr; :1-15
On November 5, 2010, a 53-year-old male volunteer captain (victim) was fatally injured when he was struck and pinned against a wall by a fire department brush truck. The brush truck was having maintenance performed on the steering column by a fire fighter/mechanic. As the victim and a fire fighter passed in front of the brush truck, the fire fighter/mechanic turned the ignition key to unlock the steering wheel, and the brush truck suddenly started and lunged forward, pinning the victim against construction materials stored along the wall. The victim succumbed to his injuries on scene. Contributing Factors: 1. Vehicle not blocked from inadvertent movement. 2. Vehicle transmission in gear during maintenance. 3. Vehicle not equipped with clutch pedal interlock. 4. Unsafe work practices. Key Recommendations: 1. Ensure steps are taken to block vehicles undergoing maintenance against inadvertent movement (e.g., setting the parking brake, wheel chocks, or disconnection of battery). 2. Develop, implement, and enforce policies and procedures outlining safe work practices within a vehicle maintenance facility. 3. Develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive preventive maintenance program. 4. Ensure that fire department vehicle operators and vehicle maintenance personnel are aware of available manufacturer pre-market and aftermarket installed safety devices on apparatus. Additionally, authorities having jurisdiction (e.g., Federal Excess Personal Property program, state surplus organizations, and individual state foresters) should: Consider developing and implementing a nationwide policy/procedure for excess/surplus vehicles that assists with identifying potential safety concerns, outdated vehicle safety controls, and vehicle modifications so that ample warning, guidance, and information are provided to fire departments before they take possession of such vehicles and place them in service.
Region-5; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting-equipment; Motor-vehicles; Safety-practices; Safety-equipment; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Emergency-responders; Surveillance
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
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Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Services: Public Safety
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: March 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division