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FACEValue: Public works foreman dies after falling from dump truck

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Case report: #18MA050
Issued by: Massachusetts State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program
Date of incident: Sept. 11, 2018

A 59-year-old foreman for a municipal public works department died after falling from the tailgate of a dump truck. The department had no comprehensive safety and health program. At the time of the incident, the foreman and a co-worker were using wood planks as a ramp to unload a rented sod cutter from the truck’s bed. The planks were still damp from rain that had fallen earlier in the morning. The chains attached to the tailgate were adjusted so the tailgate was not quite horizontal and remained slanted toward the bed of the truck. The victim walked up the planks and started to step onto the tailgate, when one of the planks slipped off the tailgate and fell to the ground. The victim fell backward and landed on the asphalt, striking his head. The co-worker, who witnessed the incident, called emergency medical services and assisted the victim. EMS arrived and transported the victim to a local hospital, where he died two days later from complications of blunt force head trauma.

To help prevent similar incidents, employers should:

  • Ensure appropriate equipment is available and used for each assigned task.
  • Ensure a Job Safety Analysis is performed before the start of each project.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive safety and health program that addresses hazard recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions.
  • Work toward creating a positive safety culture and safety climate.

Download the full report.

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