Safety Issues



The semi-truck driver was a 59-year-old father of two.  His career as a truck driver spanned over 40 years, with no recorded accidents or injuries.



On October 30, 2014, at approximately 7:00am, a semi-truck driver and fellow team driver parked in a chain restaurant parking lot to make their deliver, unloaded their product, and were adjusting the tandems on the trailer.  The team driver placed himself near the tandems while the semi-truck driver climbed into the truck cab to rock the truck so the tandems would slide into place.  The team driver was found with his head pinned between the tire and the bottom of the trailer.




The team driver sprayed WD-40 onto the pins then struck them with a hammer in an attempt to loosen the rust that caused the pins to stick.  When the pins were loose, he actuated a manual release lever near the front of the tandem and instructed the semi-truck driver to rock the truck back and forth to release the tandems. 

The semi-truck driver set the brake on the trailer and after he received an audible signal from the team driver, he got into the cab of the truck and rocked the trailer back and forth to move the tandem.  The team driver who was standing beside the trailer informed the semi-truck driver that the technique did not work.  The semi-truck driver then reset the brake on the tractor with the intent to exit the cab, when he heard a loud band and felt the trailer move.  The semi-truck driver exited, and noticed the team driver’s head pinned between the tire and the bottom of the trailer.  The semi-truck driver ran to the team driver and received no response.  He then ran to the restaurant for addition help.   One restaurant employee called Emergency Management Services while another employee returned with the driver to assist the team driver. 

When they reached the team driver, they discovered he had fallen to the ground, and was no longer trapped.  The restaurant employee noticed the team driver’s head was bleeding, removed his own shirt and place it around the team driver’s head.  The driver and restaurant employee also noticed blood coming out of the team driver’s mouth and rolled him onto his right side as he struggled for breath.  EMS was notified at 8:45am and arrived on scene at 8:49 am to discover a police officer performing CPR on the team driver. EMS took over and called Air Transport.  Air transport was cancelled after EMS pronounced the team driver deceased at 9:20 am.  The team driver was transport to a local hospital to wait for the coroner.   The team driver died from massive head trauma.




  • Employers should consider providing tools such as extension rods, to allow workers to remain clear of moving or shifting parts.

  • Tandem adjustments should be performed by a single driver.  

  • Drivers should consider using a tandem stopper tool..   (link for full report)

College of Public Health
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center
333 Waller Ave. Suite 210
Lexington, Kentucky 40504

Safety Issues is presented by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in partnership with the National Truckers Association (NTA), with major contributions from State partners funded by NIOSH through the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program.  The goal of the FACE Program is to prevent occupational fatalities across the nation by identifying and investigating work situations at high risk for injury and then developing and disseminating prevention strategies to those who can intervene in the workplace. State partners who contribute Safety Issues postings based on recent investigative reports are California, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, New Jersey, and Washington.

This month’s Safety Issues is based on an investigative report from the Kentucky FACE program.  The complete detailed Kentucky FACE INVESTIGATION REPORT 14KY007 includes additional case information, recommendations and discussion.  This report can be found at

Additional KYFACE investigation Reports, Summaries of MIOSHA Inspections, and Hazard Alerts can be accessed through the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center at

The Safety Issues and Investigation Reports which are the products of NIOSH Cooperative State partners are presented here in their original unedited form from the states. They are intended for educational purposes only. 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 the NIOSH.