Municipal Police Officer Fatally Injured When Struck by a Backing Dump Truck — MassachusettsAbstract:
On July 26, 2012, a 53-year-old male municipal police officer (victim) was fatally injured when he was struck by a backing dump truck while performing a traffic detail for a water line replacement project. The victim was directing traffic when he noticed a backing dump truck. As he tried to get out of the truck’s way, he fell and the truck backed onto him. The truck operator exited the truck’s cab and noticed that the truck was on top of the victim, he then moved the truck off of the victim. Emergency medical services (EMS) arrived within minutes of notification and transported the victim to a local hospital where he died later that same day. Contributing factors identified in this investigation included: the contractor lacked an Internal Traffic Control Plan and backing procedures, and the dump truck was not equipped with monitoring technologies to assist the truck operator monitor vehicle blind spots. In addition, the police department did not provide work zone training for police officers performing details for construction projects. The Massachusetts FACE Program concluded that to prevent similar occurrences in the future, contractors performing work on or around roadways should:
- Develop, implement, and enforce an Internal Traffic Control Plan (ITCP) specific to each construction site to minimize vehicle backing and to help protect workers on foot;
- Ensure backing protocols are in place and that designated individuals are assigned as signalers to direct backing vehicles on construction sites; and
- Consider installing monitoring technology on construction vehicles and equipment to assist operators in detecting workers on foot within blind areas.
- Provide work zone safety training for all employees who perform work on or around roadways, including traffic details; and
- Provide work environments for employees that, at a minimum, meet all relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and industry accepted standards of practice per the Department of Labor Standards policy.
Manufacturers of heavy construction equipment and vehicles, such as dump trucks, should:
- Explore the possibility of incorporating collision avoidance technology on their equipment to assist the operator while backing.