Road Construction Laborer Dies After Being Run Over by a Water Truck in Indiana
A 17-year-old male part-time road construction laborer (the victim) died when he was run over by the rear wheels of a water truck. When the victim arrived at the work site, his employer asked him to ride with him in the cab of the water truck.
After riding approximately 10 minutes, the employer asked him to get out and go to the rear of the truck to check the fluid gauge on the tank. The truck continued moving forward at 3 to 5 miles per hour.
A coworker, who was driving a tamping roller behind the water truck, saw the young man get off the back of the moving truck after checking the fluid gauge and walk around the truck toward the cab on the passenger side. He then saw the young man stop just before the cab, where he stopped over, leaned under the truck and was run over.
The employer last saw the victim in his driver's side mirror when the victim poked his head around the tank from his position on the ladder attached to the rear of the truck. He yelled to the victim to get down and move to the driver's side to get read to close an external control under the truck on the driver's side.
When the employer stopped the truck approximately 30 to 45 seconds after last seeing the victim, he looked back and saw the coworker waving and the victim lying on the road.
The coworker called 911 from his cell phone. Personnel from the county sheriff's department and county coroner's office responded within minutes and determined that the victim had sustained fatal head injuries when he was dragged and run over by the rear wheels of the water truck. The young man was pronounced dead at the job site.
When workers are assigned to tasks in the vicinity of moving vehicles and heavy equipment on jobsites, the employer should require pre-work safety meetings for all employees on site, drivers and crew. These pre-work safety meetings should outline and review the procedures to be followed for all tasks assigned that day. Also, during this pre-work safety meeting the following points should be covered:
- Minimize, to the extent possible, work that must be done by workers on foot near moving vehicles
- Define blind spots and prohibit workers on foot from entering these areas
- Workers should be advised to look at the side mirrors; if they cannot see themselves in one of the mirrors, they are in a blind spot
- Maintain continuous visual and verbal contact
- Require workers on foot to maintain a safe minimum distance between themselves and any moving vehicles or heavy equipment
- Require all workers to wear appropriate high visibility safety apparel