A 56-year-old bulldozer operator was killed while clearing land on a steep hillside. He was self-employed and used the John Deere 450C bulldozer that he owned for logging on his own property, as well as doing work for others when needed. He owned mountain property near his home and he used the bulldozer to clear a series of paths in the hills for logging. At approximately 8 pm on the day of the incident, he was using the bulldozer to clear a path leading downhill where he planned to put a sawmill. As he was grading, he backed the bulldozer to the edge of the path and the soft dirt gave way causing the dozer to overturn and roll several times down the hillside. The bulldozer was equipped with a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS), but the victim was not wearing a seatbelt. He was thrown out as it rolled and the vehicle came to rest on top of him at the bottom of the hill. A neighbor witnessed the incident and called 911 for assistance. Rescue personnel were dispatched at 8:24 pm and arrived at the scene at 8:48 pm. The county coroner was summoned and pronounced the victim dead at the scene. In order to prevent similar incidents from occurring, FACE investigators recommend that:

  • Operators of heavy equipment should wear a seatbelt when using vehicles equipped with a ROPS
  • Operators should use extra caution when using heavy equipment on steep terrain

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