North Carolina Excavator Accident Causes Serious Work Injury

A construction worker was rushed to a hospital in Charlotte after an excavator accident in Fort Mill left him with serious work-related injuries. excavator

According to the Herald Online, the accident occurred sometime around 4 p.m. at the Doby Bridge Road construction site. He reportedly became trapped under the truck of the excavator. Police investigators are still piecing together what happened, but initial reports are that one worker had been operating the excavator while another worker was nearby, explaining a maintenance issue the machine had been having.

The operator then moved the vehicle and as he was moving it, the second worker was struck, knocked down and then became trapped underneath the track of the vehicle. 

The victim is known to be 34-years-old, but authorities hadn’t yet released his name as of this writing. He was taken by helicopter in critical condition to a the Charlotte Carolinas Medical Center. Police have turned over investigation of the accident to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as it is not a criminal matter, nor is it considered a traffic accident. Officers noted there is no reason whatsoever to believe this was an incident that involved criminal intent.

Excavator accidents on construction sites can cause serious injuries. For those not familiar, an excavator is a large machine that removes soil from the ground and is mostly used on building sites.

Both the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health (elcosh) and and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have offered up detailed information about the injuries that can occur when one is operating or working near an excavator.

Statistics on excavator deaths aren’t recent, but they do offer a glimpse. The CDC reports that from 1992 to 2000, there were nearly 350 deaths associated with excavators or backhoe loaders. The two most common causes of injury in those cases were:

  • Being struck by the moving machine, swinging booms or other components of the machine;
  • Being struck by the quick-disconnect excavator buckets that can unexpectedly break away from the excavator stick.

Other possible causes of workplace injury and/or death involving excavators includes electrocutions, rollovers, and trench cave-ins.

Pretty much all of these accidents are preventable, and it starts with the setting up of the site. Those efforts include:

  • Contacting local utilities and other interested parties to determine if there are overhead and underground utility lines before the work is mapped out.
  • Don’t allow excavators to be operated on a grade that is steeper than that which is identified as being safe by the manufacturer.
  • Ensure the excavator is a safe distance from trenches and also from other workers.

Additionally, all equipment operators need to be properly trained and the safety conditions of the site need to be continually evaluated. All machine controls should be clearly labeled and any attachments need to be maintained according to the manufacturer specifications.

Those who operate the machines should also be conducting regular operational and visual checks on the machine systems and controls before engaging with the machine. And excavators should never be overloaded when they are lifting materials.

If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Worker airlifted after equipment after accident at Fort Mill construction site, June 28, 2016, By Teddy Kulmala, The Herald

More Blog Entries:

New OSHA Reporting Rule Impacts Post-Accident Drug/ Alcohol Testing, July 10, 2016, North Carolina Excavator Injury Lawyer Blog

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