Car Carrier Truck Driver Dies When Crushed By Ramp of Car Carrier

Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation (FACE) program is the name of the program that scrutinizes workplace deaths. The FACE investigator learns about the incident from the death certificate, they then review the official reports and will send a letter to the company requesting an interview and will follow them up with a telephone call to the company.
By taking a real time incident of a car carrier truck driver who died when being crushed by ramp of car carrier, let us analyze the causes and tips to prevent it.

The incident which killed the truck driver

  • On July 26, 2005, a 59-year-old truck driver (the victim) was deadly crushed while loading used cars onto the auto transport truck carrier.
  • The victim was working alone when he mistakenly activated the hydraulic controls to the ramp for one of the carriers causing it to move forward and downward as in the picture.
  • The movement jammed the victim and pinned and crushed the victim into the hood and windshield of a car positioned on the ramp.

What are the causes for the incident

  • The car hauler had warning decals attached, "Warning Pinch Points." When the victim was found, his knee was still pushing two of the hydraulic levers.
  • At the time of the incident, the victim was checking the tie down chains from the front of one of the ramps.
  • During this activity, the victim came into contact with the hydraulic levers for two of the ramps.
  • This caused the upper ramp to move down, pinching and crushing the victim between the bottom of the ramp and the car located on the bottom belly ramp. The official cause of death was compression asphyxia.

How can these sort of death are prevented

  1. Proper placing of the pins would avert downward movement of the ramps or racks on the car hauler trailer.
  2. The metal pins are strong enough to withstand the pressures of a loaded car on the on the ramps and racks.
  3. Employers should train up their employees in the significance of using the pins and the location of pinch points on the trailer.
  4. Employers must strengthen the training of the pinch point hazard related with moving ramps while loading and unloading operations to their employees.
  5. Employers need to have formal written procedures established to get rid of misinformation and also to identify the dangers of the pinch points.
  6. The manufacturer identified the hazards associated with the auto transport trailer and also the pinch points that were likely to cause injury to an employee.

Safety tips given by FACE investigator and Boydstun Metal Works

The FACE investigator concluded that to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:
  • Ensure that employers utilize retaining pins to prevent unintentional movement or collapses of the ramps when employees are loading cars on the trailers.
  • Ensure that drivers are properly trained in the operation of car carrier trailers.
  • Ensure that drivers follow the trailer manufacturer's recommendation involving car loading.
Safety precautions recommended by the Boydstun Metal Works are as follows:
  • Inspect all hoists, etc. prior to use. Do not use damaged equipment.
  • Never walk under a load suspended without the racks being pinned in a fixed location.
  • Keep all personnel clear of the fall zone of the auto transport.
  • Know the weight of material being lifted (never overload).
The Section 35 Safety stated that:
  • Don't reach into moving machinery.
  • Use every piece of safety equipment to insure guards are in place.