Several years ago, a heavy equipment maintenance mechanic was killed when the raised bed of a dump truck lowered and crushed him.
The 53-year-old victim was employed by a heavy construction company. He had worked as a mechanic in the company’s heavy equipment and construction vehicle maintenance repair shop for 12 years, servicing and repairing equipment, and replacing and fabricating components. On the day of the fatal incident, the victim and another employee were servicing a dump truck. They thought their work was completed but then realized that they needed to adjust a control cable. To access this cable they raised the bed of the truck and went up onto the truck’s frame. They did not use, as they had earlier in the day, the truck’s installed safety pole which is used during servicing to prevent the accidental lowering of the bed. According to the surviving employee, their work was only going to take about a minute. The victim was sitting on the frame of the truck adjusting the cable when he realized that the bed was about to come down and yelled at his coworker to get off the bed. The coworker escaped without injury, but the victim was struck and crushed by the falling bed.
What should you do:
- You must make sure that dump trucks have a device installed on the bed that will hold the bed in position while employees are underneath.
- You should always block the truck or trailer dump bed with an approved device when your body is between the bed and the frame, even if the work you are performing will only take a few seconds/minutes.
- All workers need to be trained in hazard assessment and control of potential energy sources.
- Potential energy sources (mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, thermal, electrocution, gravity, and others) must be secured during maintenance, and in a manner that cannot be disabled without knowledge of the person performing the maintenance.
- If a safety device is not installed on the equipment or truck, call the dealer or manufacturer
- Do not install homemade or make-shift devices. Use what came with the equipment
- Safety devices need to be engineered to able to deal with the energy and forces that can be generated by the bed and bed load.
Never put yourself in a spot where you could be crushed.
Let’s be safe out there!!!!
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