Fatality Narrative: Worker Struck by Vehicle When Exiting Trench in Roadway

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Washington State Department of Labor and Industries , Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program

Summary Statement

Washington State Department of Labor narrative of a fatal accident when a passing car struck a member of an underground utility crew.

Industry: Utility installation Release Date: January 9, 2003
Occupation: Construction foreman Case No.: 02WA03401
Task: Installing natural gas line connection in roadway trench SHARP Report No.: 71-6-2003
Type of Incident: Struck by motor vehicle  

On June 10, 2002, a construction foreman was struck and killed by a pickup truck while exiting an approximately 2 1/2 foot deep trench in a roadway work zone where he had been installing a natural gas line connection. The 49-year-old member of the Plumber and Pipefitter's Union had been working with two others in the roadway. The work zone was on a busy city street and had warning signs and cones. The crew foreman was exiting the shallow trench in the roadway when a pickup truck plowed through the work zone striking him from behind and then struck another worker. The foreman died a short while later in a hospital. The other worker was hospitalized with head and facial injuries.


(! Indicates items required by law)

    ! Follow Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) requirements for temporary traffic control for specific roadway work zone site.
  • Place temporary engineering controls such as Jersey barriers, water filled barrels, a truck with a rear-mounted impact attenuater, material piles, or construction vehicles between traffic lanes and work zone workers to supplement administrative controls (signs).
  • Consider road closure when possible.
    ! Employer must make an assessment of potential work site safety hazards, as required by the regulation, before starting work, and mitigate accordingly.
    ! On-site flaggers and traffic control supervisors are required to have training in the control of traffic. We recommend that project managers also receive this training.
  • Workers should have a communication plan and an emergency exit strategy in the event an errant vehicle enters the work zone
State Wide Statistics: This was the 31st work-related fatality in Washington State during the year 2002. It was also the 6th construction industry and the 2nd road construction work zone fatality of the year.