Safety Tips FACE Reports

FACEValue: Truck driver entangled in drive train of semi-truck tractor

Case report: #2005IA086*
Issued by: Iowa State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of incident: December 2005

A 64-year-old part-time truck operator died when his clothing became entangled in the drive train of a semi-truck tractor. When the victim realized the brakes of the truck were frozen, he crawled under the truck to free them using a hammer and metal rod. The truck had an automatic transmission and was left running and in gear without the parking brake set. When the brakes were released, the drive shaft started turning and the truck moved forward. The movement caused the victim’s hooded sweatshirt to become entangled in the drive shaft and tighten around his neck and chest. When first responders arrived, they cut the victim free and began resuscitation. However, resuscitation was terminated on scene without transporting the victim to the emergency department. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was “traumatic asphyxia due to chest and neck compression.”

To prevent future occurrences:

  • Employees must not attempt tasks for which they are not authorized or have not received proper training.
  • The employer should revise the lockout/tagout program to include/revise the risks and procedures for working on energized equipment.
  • All employees should be trained in appropriate safety procedures associated with their equipment.
  • Equipment should be appropriately maintained in good operating condition.

*This report is the product of NIOSH’s Cooperative State partner. The findings and conclusions in each report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of NIOSH.