Washington FACE: Skid-Steer loader operator crushed between backhoe attachment and cab*


Industry: Electrical contractors

Release Date: February 3, 2012

Task: Operating skid steer loader up ramp to trailer Incident Date: March 1, 2010
Occupation: Journeyman equipment operator Case No.: 10WA01801
Type of Incident: Crushed between SHARP Report No.: 71-106-2011

Photo of skid steer loader and loading ramp at incident scene.On March 1, 2010, a journeyman equipment operator was crushed between the backhoe attachment and the cab of a skid-steer loader. The 47-year-old operator was hired from the local IUOE hall by an electrical contractor to perform work at a power company’s substation. He had worked for this employer on and off for several years; this was his first day at this jobsite. The victim and an employee of the contractor were loading equipment and tools to move to another job site. The victim’s task was to load a skid-steer loader with a backhoe attachment on to an equipment trailer for transport. As the victim moved the loader toward the trailer ramps, the backhoe attachment dragged on the ramps, preventing it from being loaded. He got down from the machine and connected the backhoe’s hydraulic hoses and then got back into the cab. He may have intended to use the bucket of the backhoe attachment to lift the loader’s front end to prevent the attachment from dragging while moving up the ramp. The victim was seated in the cab with the safety restraint bar in the down position (it must be down to operate the machine). He then stood, perhaps for a better view, and reached for the backhoe attachment operator’s seat in front of him. At the same time his hand hit a button which engaged the bucket and his left foot became stuck on the control that activated the backhoe attachment. The bucket then moved toward him, pinning him between the exterior seat and the cab frame. The victim was taken to a hospital where he died of blunt force trauma to the chest.


  • Seatbelts must be provided and used by all operators of skid-steer loaders. See WAC 296-155-615.
  • Employers shall permit only those employees qualified by training or experience to operate equipment and machinery. See WAC 296-155-035.
  • Employers should have a safety program that includes an on-the-job review of the practices necessary to perform the initial job assignments in a safe manner. See WAC 296-155-110.


  • Operators should:
    • Use a spotter when loading equipment on to trailers if visibility is poor.
    • Operate equipment only while seated with seatbelts fastened and restraint bar down.
  • Employers should:
    • Conduct a daily job briefing with workers that covers hazards, work procedures, and special precautions.
    • Ensure employees are trained to operate skid steer loaders and attachments they are required to use.

State Wide Statistics: This was number 16 of 89 work-related fatalities in Washington State during 2010, and was number 2 of 7 construction-related fatalities.

*This bulletin was developed to alert employers and employees of a tragic loss of life of a worker in Washington State and is based on preliminary data ONLY and does not represent final determinations regarding the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the fatality.

Developed by Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), WA State Department of Labor & Industries. The FACE Program is supported in part by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). For more information, contact the Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, 1-888-667-4277.

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Publication #: 71-106-2011| February 3, 2012

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More