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Tragic Incident Shows Why Safety Meetings are Important

Lessons Learned From a Tragic, Preventable Incident

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Incidents

LESSONS LEARNED

A 54 year old male construction laborer (the victim) was fatally injured when he was run over and crushed by a motor grader (hereafter termed grader). At the time of the incident, the grader operator was driving the grader in reverse on a road under construction in a housing development. The victim and a coworker were standing in the road at the rear of their parked pickup truck discussing the next stage of their work when the grader operator began backing in their direction. The coworker saw the grader backing toward them and yelled to the operator to stop.  The operator did not hear the warning. The back tire of the grader struck the victim, knocking him down. The operator stopped the grader when it struck the rear of the parked pickup truck. The victim was under the rear tire of the grader.  The coworker told the operator to pull forward and then called 911 on his cell phone. Emergency medical services (EMS) and police personnel responded within minutes. Emergency care was initiated by EMS personnel and the victim was transported to an area hospital where he died approximately 90 minutes after the incident.

Scenes from the Grader Incident

(NIOSH FACE 2002-03 Full Report)

  • Horns and back-up alarms must be installed and working!
  • Operators need to inspect their equipment to ensure all safety devices and alarms are functional.
  • Earth moving or compacting equipment which has an obstructed view to the rear should not be moved unless the equipment has a back-up alarm or another worker is used as a spotter.
  • Employers should ensure that equipment is driven in a forward direction as much as possible.
  • Employers should design, develop, and implement a comprehensive safety program.

Use regular safety meetings as a tool to provide reminders to your crews about everything, even the small stuff! The weekly safety meeting is a great time to remind heavy equipment operators to inspect their equipment daily and to test their back-up alarms regularly to ensure they are working properly.

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