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Operator dies after being caught between bulldozer's track and fender.

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
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 10WA015, 2012 Sep; :1-17
In February of 2010, a 68-year-old male construction crew supervisor and heavy equipment operator died of injuries he received after being crushed between the track and fender of his bulldozer. The operator was employed by a contractor that does site development, single family home construction, and commercial construction work. He had previously owned a construction contracting business and had 48 years of experience operating bulldozers and other heavy construction equipment. On the day of the fatal incident, the operator was supervising a crew. The crew was working at a job site zoned for commercial development, where structural fill was being brought in and dumped and then leveled and compacted. As dump trucks hauled fill onto the site, the operator was using a Caterpillar D4H Series II bulldozer to level the fill and was also directing the drivers as to where they should deposit their loads. At 7:40 AM, the operator exited the bulldozer on its right side to speak with a truck driver about where the driver should deposit his load of fill. When he did this, he left the bulldozer running and did not set the parking brake. After giving instructions to the truck driver, he walked to the bulldozer's left side and then walked up its track to return to the operator's seat. As he was standing on top of the track his elbow hit the transmission lever shifting the dozer out of neutral into reverse. When the bulldozer began moving backward, his left foot became caught between the moving track and the underside of the fender. As the bulldozer continued moving backward his left leg was pulled in and crushed. The operator was carried several yards before being ejected onto the ground. The truck driver with whom the operator had just spoken used his radio to call emergency medical services and then went to aid the operator. Emergency responders arrived within three minutes and the victim was taken to a hospital where he died of his injuries 15 days later. RECOMMENDATIONS: To prevent similar occurrences in the future, the Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) investigation team recommends that bulldozer operators and employers who use bulldozers should follow these guidelines: 1. Before leaving a bulldozer unattended, operators should follow manufacturer recommended operating procedures to ensure that the equipment is secured from movement. 2. Employers should develop, implement, and enforce a written safety program that includes, but is not limited to, procedures for operators entering, exiting, and securing bulldozers against unintended movement. 3. Employers should consider buying mobile construction equipment installed with an interlock safety system or operator presence sensing system which will prevent inadvertent movement of equipment. 4. Bulldozer manufacturers should consider design features of bulldozers so as to minimize or prevent injuries and fatalities of operators.
Region-10; Humans; Men; Accidents; Traumatic-injuries; Injuries; Workers; Work-areas; Accident-prevention; Accident-analysis; Injury-prevention; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Personal-protective-equipment; Safety-equipment; Training; Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-equipment; Construction-workers; Motor-vehicles
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-10WA015; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008487; B20121218D
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division