On June 19, 2003, a 58-year-old bulldozer owner/operator (decedent) died when he was thrown off the track of his bulldozer. The bulldozer owner/operator and a laborer were having difficulty starting the bulldozer. Together, the two men had tried several different methods to start the bulldozer including: spraying ether into the air chamber, having the battery recharged, replacing the battery cables with new ones and tightening wires to the starter. They worked from the left side track of the bulldozer. The laborer sat towards the front of the track tightening the wires to the starter while the owner stood on the track to the right of the laborer three to four feet away. As the laborer tightened the main lead wire to the starter, the owner stood on the track, leaned into the cab of the bulldozer and pushed the start button. The two men did not realize the dozer was in reverse gear. When the owner pushed the button, the bulldozer jumped backward, throwing the laborer off the side of the bulldozer track and throwing the owner underneath the track. The owner died at the scene from massive injuries to his pelvis and chest.

To prevent future occurrences of similar incidents, the following recommendations have been made:

Recommendation No. 1: Always start bulldozers and other heavy equipment from the cab with the seatbelt fastened.

Recommendation No. 2: Self-employed company owners should take continuing education courses including equipment maintenance and troubleshooting techniques.

Recommendation No. 3: Do not sit or stand on parts of bulldozers or other heavy equipment not intended for human occupancy.

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A summary of this case is available as the additional file listed below.

03KY049_Summary.pdf (18 kB)
Case Summary