This short presentation describes a preventable workplace incident where a worker in Washington state was killed on the job, and is narrated by the L & I safety inspector who conducted the investigation. To view the narration script, click on the button on the lower right hand corner of the screen. To move between slides or look at a particular slide again, click on the same lower right hand corner button and then click on the back and forward buttons at the bottom of the screen.
Hello, I am Ed Guadumuz, Safety Inspector with the Dept of Labor and Industries, Division of Occupational Safety and Health. On April 4, 2010, I was assigned to investigate a workplace incident involving a 67-year old CAT D-4 bulldozer operator who was clearing and grading land for construction of a new hotel. He got caught in the moving tracks of this bulldozer and sustained severe crushing injuries.
On the day of the incident, the operator was operating the bulldozer, and also directing dump trucks where to dump loads of dirt. The operator exited the dozer from the right side. He went to the truck driver's window to give the driver instructions where to drop his load of dirt. He then went back to his bulldozer on the left side to get back on.
Unfortunately, the parking brake had not been set and the bulldozer engine was left idling. Setting the parking brake locks the shifter into neutral and prevents the bulldozer from moving.
At that moment the operator stepped onto the track. It started moving backward, and he was grabbed by the track and pulled underneath the battery box on the left side of the dozer as shown.
The bulldozer continued moving backwards with the operator caught in the moving track. He was then dropped from the track about 5 to 6 feet in front of the truck.
The whole incident lasted about 10-20 seconds. Another employee eventually stopped the bulldozer. The operator suffered severe crushing injuries. Paramedics were called and provided emergency treatment onsite. He was then airlifted to the hospital where he died 15 days later from his injuries.
An operation and maintenance manual was on the bulldozer. It provided instructions on what to do when the dozer is in the idle position. If the employer had ensured that these procedures had been followed, this fatality would not have happened. Every employee must receive instruction on how to safely operate heavy equipment.
Our goal is to make sure all employees return home from work safely. Help us keep Washington Safe and Working by properly training heavy equipment operators on the safe operation of construction site vehicles.