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FACEValue: Worker killed by skid-steer loader

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Case report: #15-MA-004-01*
Issued by: Massachusetts Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program
Date of incident: Jan. 23, 2015

A 38-year-old foreman for a tree service company was standing in front of a skid steer under the raised lift arm and bucket while performing repair work on the loader’s high-pressure hydraulic lines. Once the hydraulic line was removed, the lift arm and bucket came down, crushing the victim against the loader’s frame. He died at the scene. Contributing factors identified in the investigation include working under an unsupported raised load, the lift arm support device not being engaged to prevent the lift arm from lowering, and a lack of a safety and health program and lockout/tagout procedures.

To help prevent similar occurrences:

  • Ensure the skid-steer loader’s lift arm locks are engaged before beginning tasks that require raising the lift arms.
  • Develop, implement and enforce lockout/tagout procedures for skid-steer loaders that include the use of lift arm support devices during maintenance tasks.
  • Provide training on the maintenance tasks employees will be performing, and ensure only trained employees perform them.
  • Develop, implement and enforce a safety and health program that addresses hazard recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions.
  • Manufacturers of skid-steer loaders should adopt and implement the concept of Prevention through Design and design skid steers to eliminate known hazards.

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