Construction Laborer Killed When Run Over by Dump Truck in Highway Work Zone – WisconsinAbstract:
A 20-year-old construction laborer (the victim) died of injuries he received from being run over by a dump truck in the activity area of a highway workzone. This was a large project, where the main contractor was a bridge-building company and the employer, a road construction company, was a sub-contractor. Road traffic was diverted with a lane shift, so the activity area was free of non-construction related vehicular traffic. The employer was laying a new road at the site of a new freeway overpass. The dump truck driver was self-employed, and was subcontracted by the road construction company to transport and dump loads of gravel on the road construction site. Just prior to the incident, the truck had dumped a load of gravel in the area being prepared for paving. A grader operator was in a grader in line with the path of the gravel truck, waiting for the gravel to be dumped in front of him so he could spread the load. After dumping the load, the truck operator drove forward, lowered the dump box, and began to back up As the truck began to back up, the truck driver steered the vehicle to the left to avoid backing into the grader behind him. The truck’s back-up lights and alarms were working, and the driver was watching the mirrors on both sides of the truck. At the time of the incident, the victim was pounding stakes into the ground adjacent to where the truck had been laying the gravel. The changing path of the dump truck brought the victim into the truck’s path. The victim, wearing a traffic safety vest, was crouching down with his back to the easterly direction from which the truck was backing, moving west as he pounded stakes. He stepped into the lane where the truck was backing, apparently unaware of the truck’s presence. The grader operator glanced to the side, saw the truck as it struck and began to pass over the victim, and tried to alert the truck driver by radio. The signal didn’t go through to the driver’s radio. At about the same time, the truck driver turned to look forward through windshield and saw the victim’s body lying in the gravel in front of the truck. He jumped out of the truck and yelled to other workers in the area to call for emergency services. Although the incident occurred in a metropolitan area, it took extra time for the emergency vehicles to locate the scene and the victim due to traffic changes caused by the construction. The medical examiner pronounced the victim dead at the scene. The FACE investigator concluded that to help prevent similar occurrences, road builders should:
develop an internal traffic control plan (ITCP) that project managers can use to coordinate the flow of construction vehicles, equipment, and workers operating in close proximity within the activity area, especially on large and multi-contractor jobs.
design the workflow to minimize backing heavy equipment.
ensure that a person is designated as a spotter to direct trucks that must back up within highway construction sites.
consider equipping vehicles with devices to detect the presence of individuals or objects behind backing vehicles.
In addition, EMS providers should:
conduct practice runs to road construction sites that have altered the normal traffic patterns.