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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 200070183 - Car Fell Onto Employee

Accident: 200070183 -- Report ID: 0453720 -- Event Date: 01/03/1997
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
30007365701/06/19977549Timothy W. Reynolds, "Dba" Hayes Reynolds Wrecker
An employee was preparing to tow an abandoned vehicle from a gas station. He was summoned there by two police officers, who observed his work. The vehicle was rear-wheel drive, was parked nose-in to the building, had the front wheels turned, and was in park. Using the tow truck's cable winch, the employee pulled the front of the vehicle until it was about 90 degrees from its original position. With the tow truck (a Chevrolet truck with an Atlas wrecker body) in front of the abandoned vehicle, he connected the towing sling and chains to the vehicle. After he raised the vehicle's front end modestly, he reached under the driver's side door area to disengage the automatic transmission. He could not disengage the transmission, so he raised the vehicle higher and crawled under the car. With his feet towards the vehicle's rear, he tried aggressively to disengage the transmission while sitting under the car. The employee had placed the tow truck in park but did not apply a secondary means (such as jackstands or blocks) to secure the raised car. Several times the employee came out from under the car, raised and lowered the vehicle, and crawled underneath again. Ultimately, he raised the vehicle to an unusually steep angle, about 75 degrees. After crawling under the vehicle again, he continued to work on the transmission. The vehicle fell on him and crushed him. Emergency medical services arrived within minutes and began treatment, but the employee died of multiple crushing injuries. It was believed that the combination of both vehicles being in park, the extremely steep angle to which the towed vehicle was raised, and the aggressive manner in which the employee tried to disengage the transmission allowed the tow chains to become loose and let the vehicle fall.
Keywords: chain, vehicle, unsecured, crushed, tow truck, falling object, motor vehicle
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 300073657 Fatality Other Garage and service station related occupations

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