On November 22, 2002, a 21-year-old male laborer died after being hit in the head with the bucket of a track hoe. He was wearing a safety helmet at the time of the incident. There were six to seven workers at the job site when the incident occurred. The work crew was pouring the footing for a retaining wall as part of a bridge for a private runway being built. The concrete form collapsed, trapping one worker and almost trapping two others. The decedent had left to retrieve a shovel to help free the trapped co-worker. As he retrieved the shovel, he walked into a blind spot of the track hoe operator at the same time another worker asked the track hoe operator if there was a chain in the cab of the track hoe. The operator looked down at the floor and as he did so, his hand slightly moved the hand control causing the bucket to move, thus striking the decedent. He was transported to a hospital where he was declared dead by the coroner from blunt force injuries to the head.
In order to prevent similar incidents from occurring, the Kentucky Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program recommends:
- A hazard assessment of the work area should be performed every time work conditions change. Workers should not be in a blind spot of heavy equipment operators without the operator's knowledge. When blind spots are identified, a spotter should be used.
- During emergency situations employ safe work practices.
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "21 Year-Old Male Dies when Struck in the Head with a Track Hoe Bucket" (2003). Fatality Case Reports--Other. 16.