On November 11, 2004, a 33-year-old male dump truck driver died when he was crushed between the driver’s side of the dump truck and the swinging counter-weight of an excavator (trackhoe). His dump truck became stuck in mud after the trackhoe loaded dirt into it so he walked to the on-site office and informed the owner. The owner located a bulldozer on site and drove it to the dump truck while the driver retrieved a chain from his personal pickup truck. The owner raised the blade so the driver could attach the chain to it. Raising the blade of the bulldozer blocked the owner’s view of the ground and the cab of the dump truck, but he could still see the operator in the cab of the trackhoe operating beside the dump truck. After attaching the chain to the bulldozer blade, the dump truck driver either proceeded to attach the chain to the dump truck and tried to enter the cab; or, had already done so when the chain slipped and he was exiting the cab to reattach the chain. The counter-weight of the trackhoe swung toward the dump truck pinning the dump truck driver between the dump truck and the counterweight. At the same time, the owner thought the chain was properly attached and began backing the bulldozer away from the dump truck but did not feel the tug of the chain. Upon hearing the bulldozer engine accelerate, the trackhoe operator looked in the rear-view mirror and saw the dump truck driver on the ground. Stopping the bulldozer, the owner looked toward the trackhoe operator to check if the chain had slipped. The trackhoe operator was signaling to him that something was wrong. Both men exited their equipment to find the dump truck driver unconscious on the ground. A nearby employee went to the office and told office staff to call emergency services. Emergency services arrived, observed no vital signs in the dump truck driver, and summoned the local coroner to the scene. The local coroner arrived and declared the dump truck driver dead at the scene.

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

Recommendation No. 1: New employees should be given applicable safety training before any job tasks are performed.

Recommendation No. 2: Barriers should be used when heavy equipment is operated in close proximity to each other.

Recommendation No. 3: When operating/driving heavy equipment in close proximity, operators and drivers should use radio communication to inform other workers of hazards and altered job tasks.

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

04KY101_Summary.pdf (17 kB)
Case Summary