Equipment Operator Dies After Scraper Overturns – VirginiaAbstract:
A 47-year-old male equipment operator (the victim) died when the scraper he was operating overturned while negotiating a turn. As part of a parkway construction project, the victim had been moving earth from a cut area to a fill area. As he was completing a U-turn into the cut area, the right side tire of the scraper’s tractor ran up on an elevated berm causing the machine to slowly tip over to the left. As the machine tipped, the victim apparently abandoned the operator’s cab, jumping to the ground where he slipped and fell. As he was attempting to get up and retreat to safety, he was crushed by the top bar of the machine’s rollover protective structure (ROPS). A co-worker who had been operating a bulldozer behind the scraper immediately notified the job foreman who called for emergency assistance. A local emergency medical service (EMS) responded in 15 minutes; however, because of the extent of the victim’s injuries no life saving attempts were made and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to prevent similar occurrences, employers should:
ensure that earthmoving equipment operators are aware of the hazards of attempting escape from the equipment during overturns and should emphasize that operators remain inside the protection of the ROPS with seat belt fastened.
ensure that operators of earthmoving equipment are aware of the importance of maintaining the lowest possible machine center of gravity at all times.
ensure that haul road routes are free from overturn hazards of sharply contrasting gradients and curves.