FACEValue: Mechanic crushed to death under electrical cabinet

December 18, 2016

Case report: #15-NJ-07*
Issued by: New Jersey Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program
Date of incident: Winter 2015

A 62-year-old mechanic died after being crushed when the 994-pound electrical cabinet he was working on tipped over. The incident occurred at a frozen food manufacturing facility, where the victim had worked for about 25 years. The victim was removing salvageable equipment from a non-working electrical cabinet. To reach some of the higher components, he had to stand on the bottom shelf of the cabinet. Although no one was witness to the incident, investigators believe that while the mechanic was standing on the bottom shelf, the cabinet tipped over and trapped him as it crashed to the ground. The victim died less than an hour later from compressional asphyxia combined with chest and cervical spine injuries.

To prevent future occurrences:

  • Develop a safety plan based on a job hazard analysis of the workplace, and ensure employees follow the plan at all times.
  • Ensure proper support and structural integrity is in place when working on an object that may present a tipping hazard.
  • Anchor any object that may present a tipping hazard to a wall or fixed object.