Truck driver fatally hit by large pipe during unloading in Blaine
The incident occurred at a construction equipment business.
By Paul Walsh Star Tribune
October 25, 2016 — 8:51pm
A truck driver was fatally struck in the head by one of the large plastic pipes he was delivering Tuesday morning to a construction equipment business in Blaine, police said.
The incident occurred shortly before 9 a.m. at Gary Carlson Equipment in the 10700 block of Mankato Street, just west of Radisson Road NE., said police Lt. Dan Pelkey.
The semitrailer truck driver, in his 20s and from Missouri, was unloading the 12-foot-long pipes from his trailer when “one came off the trailer and struck him,” Pelkey said.
The man was taken by emergency responders to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids with critical injuries and later died, the lieutenant said. The driver’s name has not been released.
Emergency scanner traffic indicated that the pipe hit the man in the head and left him unconscious but still breathing as he was taken from the loading area.
The man’s death is being investigated by the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
For the five years ending in 2015, workplace deaths in Minnesota involving “contact with object/equipment” averaged nearly eight per year, according to state statistics. That category includes contact with vehicles such as trucks, forklifts and front-end loaders, said agency spokesman James Honerman.
That category also accounts for the most common instances of workplace fatalities, making up 42 percent of the 92 deaths overall from 2011-15.
Transporting loads is a very dangerous operation. It might seem like a simple task of getting stuff from one place and bringing it to another. But loading, unloading and transporting cargo can cause serious injury and even fatality. Workers loading and unloading cargo are exposed to serious danger in that heavy objects may hit or fall on them if they don’t follow the right procedures in securing loads.
Drivers may meet accidents if they don’t drive safely while carrying heavy loads. The same thing can happen if the weight of the cargo is not distributed well, thus compromising the driver’s control of the vehicle.
What makes transporting loads more dangerous is the possibility of risking lives of other drivers on the road. This can happen when loads are not securely fastened to the vehicle and they end up rolling onto the road and hitting other vehicles or obstructing their path.
Now that you know how hazardous transporting loads can be, it’s time you learn more about securing loads properly. Here are guidelines you should follow for this important task:
1. Loading areas should always have good lighting. They should also be away from both vehicles and pedestrians.
2. Loading areas should be firm, flat and free from potholes and other obstructions that may cause slips or trips.
3. Inspect the vehicle and make sure that horns, reflectors, lights and other safety features are in good condition.
4. Provide guards for dangerous parts of the vehicle such as chain drives, power take-off and exposed exhaust pipes.
5. Before loading transport, ensure that the vehicle is braked and stabilized.
6. Clean off first any junk or loose materials (crates, cables, wires, chains, and bins) in the vehicle before loading tools or equipment.
7. A rule of thumb when securing cargo in the vehicle: one tie-down must be used for every ten feet of cargo. Make sure, though, to use at least two tie-downs for any cargo regardless of its length.
8. Use a red flag to mark loads that extend more than three feet beyond the body of the vehicle. When transporting cargo at night, use a red light instead.
9. Use at least 4 binders for loads like pipes and logs that are 27 feet long. Ensure that the spacing between binders is equal.
10. Never load unsecured items on the backseat or rear window deck of the vehicle. This can cause the load to hit passengers or the driver when the vehicle comes to a sudden stop.
11. As much as possible, use a compartment or tool box to keep small items secure in a vehicle. If this is not feasible, use a tarp to cover the small items, making sure that it is securely tied down with ropes or straps.
12. When on the road, stop frequently to check your cargo. This is all the more necessary when traveling long distances.
Unloading cargo can be as dangerous as loading and securing it. That’s why employees must remain cautious when carrying and unloading tools, equipment and other materials from vehicles. This should not be a problem when they’re properly trained in this procedure.