Construction Laborer Dies After Being Run Over by Asphalt Roller at Highway Construction Site – VirginiaAbstract:
On October 23, 1997, a 37-year-old male construction laborer (the victim) died after being run over by an asphalt roller during a highway paving operation. A seven-person crew was engaged in paving the westbound lanes of a four-lane U.S. highway. At the time of the incident, the crew was paving the right lane and traffic was moving in the left lane. The victim was assigned to walk back and forth along the highway, checking the traffic cones positioned along the dotted lines at the center of the highway to ensure they were standing upright, and ensuring that the construction-zone warning signs remained standing. As the foreman of the crew operated the paving machine, the asphalt roller followed behind to smooth the newly laid asphalt. The roller operator was transporting another employee, who was standing at the front of the machine, leaning against the roll bar and looking backward. The operator made a forward pass with the roller, stopped the machine, then put it in reverse gear. The machine had traveled approximately 10 feet when the operator sensed that something was wrong; at the same time, the rider alerted the operator to stop the roller. The victim was discovered lying face down with his arms at his sides, his head crushed by the roller. The foreman radioed emergency personnel. A local fire department responded within 15 minutes, followed by a rescue squad and the state police. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. NIOSH investigators concluded that, in order to prevent similar incidents, employers should:
ensure that equipment operators are trained to check work areas for the presence of pedestrians in the machine’s path before changing the direction of travel
ensure that passengers are not permitted to ride on rollers or similar mobile equipment.
consider equipping machines such as rollers, that must change direction frequently, with sensors to detect the presence of persons in the machine’s path.