Asphalt Machine Runs Over and Kills WorkerAbstract:
In the summer of 1996, a 35-year-old construction worker, who had been on the job only four days, died after being run over by an asphalt road-widening machine when it ran backwards over him. The man was part of a 9-man crew who were widening a state highway. The victim’s job was to walk to the side and rear of the road widener, visually adjusting the machine’s side-mounted spreader arm. The road-widening crew normally lays down two layers of asphalt: the machine moves slowly forward applying the first layer, then must back up to lay the second layer. After the first layer was applied, the victim apparently jumped on the machine as it was backing up, slipped off and was run over by the right front tire. Fresh asphalt on the bottom of his boots may have contributed to his fall. The machine weighed 40 tons and amputated his left leg and injured his hemipelvis. The man was flown to a regional hospital and had major complications of significant internal bleeding and cardiac arrest, and died nine days later.
Recommendations are as follows:
1. Heavy equipment operators must always remain aware of the location of workers around their machines.
2. Operators must not permit riders on industrial equipment or vehicles that are not designed for passengers.
3. Employees working in heat stress environments should be given a period of acclimatization and be scheduled for work periods and rest breaks in accordance with recognized standards (ACGIH and NIOSH).
4. Workers who are not fit for duty due to illness or fatigue should not be assigned to hazardous tasks.