Vehicles & Heavy Equipment case study

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Labor Occupational Health Program

Summary Statement

A case study of a construction inspector dying when a truck backed over him, including preventative measures. Part of a collection. Click on the 'collection' button to access the other items.
April, 1996

These case studies are part of tailgate/toolbox talks that were developed for use under California OSHA regulations. The American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has adapted these talks to apply to federal OSHA regulations.) To contact ACGIH, visit its website (

Construction Inspector Killed by Backing Dump Truck

A 36-year-old construction inspector for the county died when an asphalt dump truck backed over him.

The truck was bringing hot asphalt to a new road being constructed in a housing project. The inspector was wearing an orange reflective vest and hard-hat at the time of the incident. The dump truck had a back-up alarm that was functioning properly.

The truck traveled approximately 770 feet in reverse before backing over the inspector. The inspector had his back to the vehicle at the time. The truck driver stated he was traveling approximately 5 to 10 miles per hour when the incident occurred, and that he never saw the inspector.

Emergency medical personnel responded within seven minutes and pronounced the inspector dead at the scene.

April 12, 2000

What should have been done to prevent this accident?

Preventive Measures

Cal/OSHA investigated this accident and made the following recommendations.

Employers should:

  • Require use of a second person as a spotter when backing heavy equipment with blind spots.
  • Minimize the distance heavy equipment needs to back up to gain access to the work area.
  • Consider using additional safety devices on heavy equipment to warn workers of a backing vehicle and to warn drivers when someone is in their blind spot.

This Case Study is based on an actual California incident. For
details, refer to California Dept. of Health Services, Occupational
Health Branch, Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
(FACE) Report #00CA005.