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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 201634078 - Employee'S Finger Is Crushed When Caught Under Winch Cable

Accident: 201634078 -- Report ID: 1054112 -- Event Date: 10/21/2003
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30708747810/29/20037549Supertow Llc

On October 21, 2003, Employee #1 was driving a 2-ton tilt flatbed truck to deliver a vehicle to the auction yard. After unloading the vehicle from the truck, he returned the tilt bed of the truck to the up and stowed position and was rewinding the wire rope cable, yoke and "J" hook assembly back onto the spool of the hydraulic winch. The cable was twisted and forming knots. So, he decided to manually maintain tension on the cable as it rewound onto the drum of the winch. Since this is normally a two-person operation and he was alone, he used a chain binder to hold down the cable drum operation lever while he manually maintained tension on the cable as it rewound. His glove got caught in the chain connection. Since the cable continued to move forward, he got up onto the deck of the truck as he tried to free his glove. The "J" hook end of the cable became caught on a lower lift mechanism and the cable became taut so rapidly that he was unable to free his right hand from beneath the chain and cable connection, crushing his right little finger. The mechanism controlling the winch was too far away for him to reach it and shut off the winch. He was finally able to use his Nextel cell phone to contact his father-in-law to come and turn off the winch. His father-in-law was working at the office in the far end of the auction yard, about 600 feet from Employee #1. The manager of the auction yard heard the call. Since he was on a golf cart type vehicle and was more mobile, he responded to the scene. When he arrived, he saw that Employee #1 was on top of the flatbed of the truck with his right hand trapped beneath the cable and chain. The surface was vibrating as the winch continued to try to tighten the cable. He immediately removed the chain binder from the winch control lever and pulled the lever up, reversing the direction of the winch. As soon as the cable became loose enough, Employee #1 freed his hand. An ambulance was called, and he was transported to Oregon Health Science University, where he was hospitalized for treatment.

Keywords: fracture, wire rope, finger, glove, caught by, tow truck, flatbed truck, winch, truck driver

Employee Details
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 307087478 Hospitalized injury Fracture Occupation not reported

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