Backhoe Accident at South Carolina Construction Site Kills 18-Year-Old From Charlotte

A teenage worker from Charlotte was recently killed in a backhoe accident at a South Carolina construction site. The Republic reports the 18-year-old was working at the future site of the Giordana Velodrome, a 250-meter track with embankments measuring as steep as 40-degrees. The construction worker, employed by Indian Trail-based Kempf Contracting, was injured and taken to Piedmont Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials are conducting an investigation into the cause of death and the events surrounding the accident.
Workers’ compensation lawyers in Asheville, Winston-Salem and throughout North Carolina know that many workers risk their lives daily while performing their work tasks, especially in the construction industry. Employers must be vigilant about training young workers or new hires on how to operate certain equipment to avoid a preventable accident at work.

A high percentage of construction jobs require workers to operate large pieces of machinery. Operators of heavy equipment should be required by their employer to take annual Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety training. Any worker who is not trained on how to operate a backhoe or other large piece of equipment safely is at considerable risk of injury, and the employer can be fined for company negligence when an accident occurs.

Beyond crucial training on how to operate construction equipment, there are some things that backhoe operators should keep in mind while they perform their daily work tasks. Backhoe operators should always check the equipment for proper functioning before starting a task. Check the equipment to make sure lights and signals are functioning properly, as well as connections, tires and guards are tight and ready for safe operation. Anything that is not in working order should be repaired before starting the engine. Backhoe operators should always check their surroundings before they begin a task. This includes checking the area for obstacles or other workers who might be trying to complete a task at the same time.

Additional backhoe safety tips include:

-Park backhoes on level ground as opposed to an incline or slope. Make sure to lower the backhoe and bucket to the ground. Always block the wheels, take the key out of the ignition and engage the parking brake when leaving at the end of the day.

-Workers are at risk of being crushed when the backhoe moves upward, so always make sure the hitch lock-down device is in place.

-Know the location of underground cables, water pipes, or gas lines before you start digging. A signal person can help determine obstacles and help you avoid contact while you are digging.

-Reduce speed of the machinery while operating to avoid rollover accidents.

-Make sure other workers steer clear from the backhoe swing area.

-Keep the weight of the machine balanced while working on slopes.

The North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at Lee Law Offices, PA advise injured workers about their rights and how to pursue a disability claim. If you have been injured on the job, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Charlotte man killed at Rock Hill construction site in back hoe accident, by the Associated Press, The Republic.

More Blog Entries:
Untrained Seasonal Employees at Risk of Work Injuries in Charlotte, Elsewhere, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, December 12, 2011.

OSHA Video Series Aimed to Reduce Injuries at Construction Sites in Charlotte, Nationwide, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 28, 2011.

Trench Safety at Work Can Reduce the Number of Employee Injuries and Deaths at North Carolina Construction Sites, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, October 16, 2011.

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