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Fatal burn injury while bulldozing and burning brush.

Iowa Department of Public Health
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 10IA017, 2012 Oct; :1-7
A 74-year-old self-employed construction worker died in 2010 from severe burns to his upper body. The victim had been bulldozing trees and brush into a burn pile at a friend's rural property when a fire of unknown origin started in the bulldozer and led to a 65% full-thickness circumferential burn to the victim's upper body, arms, and head. The bulldozer operator was able to exit the machine and drove his truck to a nearby field to get help from the property owner's son. The property owner's son called 911, but the dispatcher could not locate the address, so the property owner drove the injured man to a local hospital less than 20 miles away. The victim was then airlifted to a level 1 burn treatment center 60 miles away. Due to the extent and severity of his burns, he was taken off life support the following day, and died one day later. RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. Open fires should always be attended and supervised. Machinery should not be operated near open flames. 2. Keep a fully charged Class ABC-rated fire extinguisher in the cab or accessible storage area of farming and construction machinery. 3. Individuals should be aware of state safety policies for open burning and permit requirements for burns. 4. When burning trash or outdoor debris, contact the local fire department and advise them of your plans and location. 5. Plan for accessing emergency services. Individuals should contact local dispatchers to make sure adequate information is available to locate the residence or burn area. 6. Individuals should not work alone in risky conditions, such as when working with an open fire. When working alone in isolated areas, individuals should have plans to summon emergency assistance. 7. Machinery should be maintained in good condition and inspected before use, with specific attention to fuel lines and possible leaks.
Region-7; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Safety-education; Safety-engineering; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Training; Work-practices; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Fire-extinguishers; Fire-hazards; Fire-safety; Construction-workers; Construction-industry
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-10IA017; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008460; B20130124
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Iowa State Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division