Fatality Investigation Report: Flagger Killed When Struck by Dump Truck, During Road Construction in Washington StateAbstract:
On October 18, 1999, a 45-year-old female “flagger” died after being struck by a dump truck as it was backing up in a residential road construction site. The flagger (victim) was working with a construction company hired by the county to pave the residential street. The construction crew had already completed paving the west side of the street and was in the process of paving the east side when the incident occurred. The victim had been assigned to control traffic at a side street feeding the two-lane road being paved. Full and empty dump trucks were traveling through the work zone. A pilot car was used to bring non-road construction traffic up and down the west side of the road. As the pilot car approached the victim’s flagging position during one of its runs, the driver of the pilot car noticed that the victim was in the roadway and in the path of an on-coming dump truck. The dump truck was in the process of backing down the west side of the road to drop its load of asphalt into a paver. Its backup alarm was activated at the time. Shortly after being seen by the pilot car driver, she was struck and killed by the dump truck. Within moments of the incident, the local emergency medical rescue unit was called and arrived at the incident site, but the victim died at the scene of the incident.
To prevent future similar occurrences, the Washington State Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation (FACE) investigative team concluded that flaggers involved in highway construction work zones should follow these guidelines/requirements:
- Flaggers should not put themselves at risk attempting to stop vehicles intruding into work zones.
- Employers need to have a continuing process for site and program evaluation and the identification, correction, and communication of hazardous conditions for workers within a changing work zone.
- Flaggers should be equipped with two-way portable radio communication devices and other emergency signaling equipment.
- Consider using a spotter to provide direction for trucks and heavy equipment backing up in work zones.
- Dump trucks should be equipped with additional mirrors or other devices to cover “blind spot” areas for drivers when they are backing up.
- Employers should develop methods to ensure that flaggers have adequate warning of equipment or vehicles approaching from behind.
- Employers should continually train all workers regarding specific hazards associated with moving construction vehicles and equipment within a work zone.
- Employers should develop and use an Internal Traffic Safety Plan (ITSP) for each highway and road work zone project.