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Inspection Detail

Accident Investigation Summary
Summary Nr: 200651800 Event: 12/28/2010Employee Is Killed When Crushed Between Truck Door And Cab
On December 28, 2010, Employee #1, a 60-year-old Caucasian male who had worked for over 20 years as a truck driver and service technician at a propane delivery company in Eagle River, WI, was delivering propane. He was a replacement for the regular driver, who had taken two days of vacation. Employee #1 had driven the same truck the previous day, without incident, and had delivered (in a different vehicle) to this customer previously. Therefore, he was somewhat familiar with the site. According to the Sheriff's department accident recreation, Employee #1 arrived at the property between 8:00 a.m. and 8:15 a.m., for an automatic delivery (no notification to the home owner). This was the first delivery scheduled for the day, and therefore, the truck was fully loaded. Employee #1 backed the truck up the driveway, which was sloped by approximately 30 degrees. He then moved forward approximately ten feet and applied the air brake and parking brake. Employee #1 then unrolled the delivery hose and walked around snow banks and rocks to the customer's receiving tank, adjacent to the house/garage, to begin filling. The driver unit was equipped with a remote pump control, which allowed the driver to stay at the tank area, watch the tank fill indicator, and shut off gas flow without returning to the truck. The air brakes were engaged and chocks were placed per company policy. Heavy snow covered the driveway area. As noted from deeply embedded tire tracks in the heavy snow cover on the driveway area, the truck began slipping down the hill at some point during the fill, with one back wheel in a fixed position and the other turning normally. The delivery hose was still attached but totally splayed out, which may have contributed to the slanted path of the truck. Employee #1 left footprints in the snow that showed he ran after the truck, while it was slipping downhill. He caught up with it and had reached inside to open the door and get into the cab, when the truck struck the garage at the base of the hill. The truck stopped after striking the garage face, at a distance of 85 feet from the start point. At approximately 8:30 a.m., Employee #1 was killed when crushed between the truck door and truck cab, as the sliding truck struck the garage structure. Cause of death was determined to be a crushing injury to the chest and mechanical asphyxiation. No one witnessed the accident. At 11:38 a.m., the home owner went outside, without knowing that a delivery was in progress. He observed the hose and truck in an unusual position, and when he investigated, he found Employee #1's body still trapped in the truck, between the frame and door. The engine and propane gas pump were still running. A witness assisting the homeowner entered on the passenger side and turned off the pump. The site tank was overfilled, but an over pressure safety device in the mechanism shunted propane back to the truck tank during the continuous overfill and prevented a potential leak and explosion. The regular driver stated that the truck had slipped on the snow/ice covering this driveway during previous deliveries. He explained that in warmer days following heavy snowfall, the truck tires carried heat from road friction and gradually melted packed snow to create an icy track, while the truck was parked. The truck was designed so that it carried a lot of weight forward. The homeowner stated that he had a flat area cleared lateral to the driveway, for the propane truck to park during deliveries, per driver request. However, the area was not used during this delivery. A space on the delivery ticket for additional comments, e.g., safety precautions, only had directions to the location. The truck involved in the accident was a 2001 Freightliner bobtail with three axles, 3,500-gallon propane capacity, and cab-over-axle design. Mechanical and pumping equipment were extensively refitted when the truck was transferred from the Minnesota facility to the current location in March 2010. The
Keywords: building, load shift, caught between, crushed, truck, slippery surface, communication, door, mech malfunction, slope
Inspection Degree Nature Occupation
1 312559545 Fatality Asphyxia Truck drivers, heavy

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