Safety Issues



The Truck Operator

The truck driver was 67-year-old high school graduate, retired coal miner, and semi-retired truck driver. He was a U.S. Navy Vietnam War veteran and a member of the United Mine Workers of America. He had been employed with the company since their opening in 2013.

The Incident Scene

The incident scene was a concrete parking lot where a building was under construction. The employees were located on the north wall of the building. The truck driver had backed the flatbed truck into the parking lot and parked, with the end of the flatbed resting on the grass adjacent to the parking lot and the front of the truck at the entryway of the parking lot The truck was parked on a slight incline.

The Investigation

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet notified the Kentucky Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program of a fatality that occurred on January 5, 2015. An investigation was conducted. On Monday, January 5, 2015, an equipment rental company driver drove a Kenworth Mack semi-truck trailer loaded with elevator equipment to a construction site to deliver the rented elevator equipment to the contractor. The equipment included eight tower sections located at the rear of the trailer, an elevator case and an elevator cage door in the middle, and smaller tower sections in the front of the trailer. The elevator door was behind the case, and secured with two straps hooked to the left side of the trailer over the case/door and down the right side of the trailer. During the time of the incident, an employee at the construction site was operating a Manitex crane, model 20102, offloading the base tower section from the rear of the trailer. The employee stated that when he was swinging the crane back to remove additional sections, he noticed the truck driver had just removed the straps, descended the ladder, and was rolling up a strap on the right side of the trailer that had been used to secure the cage door. The crane operator then noticed the cage door shifting and he exited the crane, running towards the victim to warn him. When the crane operator was approximately 8 feet from the truck driver, the cage door fell off the trailer striking the truck driver. The employee called for assistance. The crane operator, a third employee and a bystander who witnessed the incident removed the door and called 911. The employee checked the truck driver for breathing; then he was still breathing but his eyes were rapidly moving. Emergency Medical Services arrived quickly and the employees helped load the truck driver onto the gurney for transport. The employee stated the EMS assisted the victim a few minutes before departing for the local hospital. The truck driver was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.


Employers should implement a safety policy where employees should not place themselves in a possible fall shadow zone while flatbeds are being loaded, or unloaded.

Employers should establish workplace safety guidelines for securing loads while loading and unloading. Loading and unloading semi-trucks can be a dangerous job.

Employers should implement a comprehensive safety and health program and provide training which includes hazard recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions, such as the hazards associated with loading and unloading equipment worksites.

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, Oregon, New Jersey and Washington.

This month’s safety issues is based on an investigative report from Kentucky Face Program.  The complete detailed Kentucky FACE INVESTIGATION REPORT: 15KY001 includes additional case information, recommendations and discussion.  This report can be found at  Further information on Kentucky FACE Program, including additional Kentucky FACE Investigation Reports, Hazard Alerts, truck driver training and fatality summaries can be accessed 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 NIOSH