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Deck of tow truck dropped down, crushing non-worker

Date of incident: December 2014
Notice of incident number: 2014167040118
Employer: Auto towing company

Incident summary
Two workers were repairing a hydraulic line for the deck of a flat deck tow truck. The deck was raised to access the cylinder and hoses; however, the deck was not locked out. A nonworker who was visiting the workplace positioned himself under the deck to watch the work. One worker removed two hydraulic hoses, which eliminated the holding ability of the hydraulic cylinders, allowing the deck to drop. The nonworker received fatal injuries when he was caught between the deck and vehicle chassis.

Investigation conclusions

Cause

  • Nonworker crushed by tow truck deck that was not locked out during maintenance: The workers failed to lock out the tow truck’s deck when they were conducting maintenance on it. When the deck was raised, it should have been blocked to prevent inadvertent movement. The hydraulic system did not retain hydraulic fluid in either cylinder after the hoses on one cylinder were removed, which caused the deck to drop. The nonworker was fatally injured when the deck collapsed on him.

Underlying factor

  • Open access to the workplace: The nonworker had open access to the workplace and was not warned or prevented from entering the hazardous position under the deck of the truck.

Request the full report

Publication Date: Jul 2017 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2014167040118