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Teenager killed by falling excavator bucket (story)

Discussion in 'Safety Issues' started by WerkBrau, May 29, 2012.

  1. WerkBrau

    WerkBrau Well-Known Member

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  2. digger242j

    digger242j Administrator

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    It has been my experience, that when the subject is the least little bit technical, the news media fail to get the details correct more often than not. The reporter in this case gets points for actually calling the machine an "excavator", rather than a "bulldozer". (That is, of course, if it was an excavator, and not a rubber-tired backhoe, or a loader that had just switched from forks to bucket, or... You get the picture.)

    Now, whether that incorrect reporting is due to the reporter being technically ill-informed, whoever gave the information to the media having "dumbed-down" the information so the media can digest it, or a well informed reporter dumbing down the information so the general public can digest it, it doesn't matter. Never take for granted the technical details you read in the news.

    I've used one mini-ex where the manual quick coupler engaged the upper bucket pin, and the bucket was retained by inserting one pin in back, so the statement saying "the pin which was supposed to stop the bucket coming off the excavator arm was not in place", could be correct.

    The above having been said, my own educated guess would be that it was a quick coupler, and either the operator failed to engage it, or more likely, failed to engage it properly. If the dipper is at such an angle, and the coupler is rotated such that, the bottom bucket pin isn't engaged when the coupler is closed, then as soon as the boom and dipper are raised high enough, the bucket falls off.

    It always good policy to check both visually and by feel that everything is secure before going to work with an attachment you've just changed. More than once I've had to take the excavator and fish a skid loader bucket out of a trash dumpster because they'll put any warm body on a skid loader to clean up the site, and it's an easy mistake for an inexperienced operator to make. (And even a more experienced operator who's in a hurry can make a similar mistake. Don't ask me how I know.)

    Very sad indeed, and the victim was probably not exprerienced enough to protect himself by being sure the operator hadn't screwed up before putting himself in harm's way.
     
  3. robin yates uk

    robin yates uk Senior Member

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    this happened in the UK some years ago, the "quick hitch" was not engaged properly and a guy was crushed when the big muck shifting bucket filled to the top landed on him, killing him instantly.The accident was put down to an operator error failing to check if the bucket was "hitched" properly.
     
  4. rare ss

    rare ss Senior Member

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    my father has been a drainer for many years and had a bucket miss him on two separate occasions, its pretty common for the operators to leave out the safety pin on the quick hitch coupler when changing over buckets all the time
     
  5. stock

    stock Senior Member

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    I did a quick google on this and it is a wide spread serious problem. So much so that it has forced the manufacturers to redesign the Q-hitch so as to eliminate the use of a safety pin and that both front and back pin are locked.
    Here is a safety document that worth a read...........................

    http://www.csponline.ie/documents/QuickhitchInformationSheet.pdf

    First manslaughter conviction for quick hitch death


    July 3, 2008 at 9:42 am Leave a comment

    Sad, but not unexpected news comes in from the courts where Digger driver Michael Roys has been sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of a fellow worker in September 2007.
    Alwyne Parkinson died from his injuries after the bucket from the excavator being driven by Michael Roys became detached and struck him. A subsequent investigation showed that the safety pin designed to keep the bucket in place had not been used, a worryingly frequent occurrence with the use of semi-automatic quick hitches. In fact this was the last in a spate of 4 deaths from such accidents in just 12 months, a statistic that has prompted the HSE to look into the standards that quick hitches are designed to and issue a safety alert to reduce the likelihood of further deaths.
    In an industry that needs to be so focussed on health and safety, the simple act of not inserting the safety pin is simply not acceptable – a fact reflected in the sentence handed down. Hopefully this will be the first and last such conviction.


    The Health and Safety Authority is issuing an urgent warning to Construction Employers, FAS CSCS Trainers and Excavator Drivers of the dangers associated with the use of excavators fitted with quick hitch devices. This warning follows a number of fatal accidents, and in a particular an incident in 2006 that resulted in an excavator driver receiving a criminal conviction.

    The driver in this incidence failed to insert the safety pin on a semi automatic quick hitch after a bucket changeover.

    Then at some stage during the course of the work the latching hook opened causing the bucket to detach from the quick hitch.

    The bucket then fell on a co-worker causing death.


    The driver received a three month suspended sentence.

    Quick hitch devices are used on excavators for the easy removal and attachment of equipment such as buckets and rock breakers. These devices depend on, positive hydraulic pressure and/or mechanical locks or safety pins, to hold the buckets and other attachments in place.

    Where an excavator fitted with a quick hitch device is being operated, drivers should ensure the following before operating the machine

    The correct procedure for securing the attachment (bucket/rock breaker etc.) is employed and that the locking mechanism/ safety pin is fully deployed and secured.
    Once attachment is secured, that before use and when all persons in the vicinity are sufficiently clear of the machine, that the driver then aggressively shake the dipper arm to ensure attachment cannot come loose.
    Once step 2 is complete and work commences, never allow persons to work directly under the excavator arm attachment.
    If an excavator driver cannot secure the attachment to the quick hitch due to a missing safety pin, the driver must not operate the machine until his/her employer is informed and a safety pin has been sourced
    .
     
  6. robin yates uk

    robin yates uk Senior Member

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    this is the accident I referred to in my post here
     
  7. robin yates uk

    robin yates uk Senior Member

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    I read the pdf file, thanks for this.I have seen with my own eyes guys not following safety proceedures because they either were not aware of the dangers or did not think this applied to them. There was a plant company in the West Midlands,UK who provided full safety training documentation including a safety certificate without even seeing the operators who they said they had just trained for a full day .The safety certificates covered every sort of operated plant.
     
  8. Garrie Denny

    Garrie Denny Senior Member

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    This is another avoidable tradgedy. All quick hitch attachments should have a safety lock pin that is inserted after proper engagement with the quick hitch and the attachment, just because youre changing between attachments often is no excuse for you getting off your ass out of the operators safety zone and placing said pin into the quick hitch, secondly any operator who manouvers a bucket or other attachment above anyone below should really be thinking about looking at some other form of employment, thirdly any person who is working in trenches ets within reach of the bucket ets should bee told prior to working NNNNNNNNNNot to go anywhere near that machinerys longest point of reach. I have had the same experiece myself when the mud bucket about 6 feet in width on a 30ton excavator dropped about 3 feet in front of me when it became dislodged from the quick hitch, not nice. thik safe always.
     
  9. D11RCD

    D11RCD COPPA Member

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    Just the other day I saw an excavator parked by the road. Quick hitch- no safety pin. The holes were rusted over and filled with mud. Next day I passed and the excavator was working. That afternoon I looked at the bucket out of curiosity again when it was parked and sure enough- no pin.
     
  10. Hendrik

    Hendrik Senior Member

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    It is now illegal to operate an excavator fitted with a quick coupler without a safety pin, which must be manually engaged.
    Plenty of owner operators still use the fully auto hitches but will be in serious trouble if an accident due to the quick couple occurs.
    I have a 'half hitch' couple on my little machine and have to always pin it manually, however I am able to pick the bucket up without the second pin in place. This is something I do now and again to shift buckets out of the way but am very conscious of the danger involved in that activity. Also I never raise the bucket over people unless it is absolutely unavoidable and if I have too I will make double sure that everything is secure.
    Without knowing more details I is hard to say what exactly happened, however by the wording in that report it sounds like a half hitch was used to shift a bucket and the operator (well the monkey at the controls) did not insert the second pin and perhaps as the boom and arm raised up the angle changed, allowing the bucket to slip out of the coupler. I assume this was a case of operator error and I don't expect a 17 year old to be aware enough to keep an eye on the ex operator.
    This is a good example of why it should be mandatory for every machine operator to have to do a license, at the moment as it stands anyone can go and hire a machine with an engine capacity of less than 2 litres and go their hardest.
    May well be that this incident occurred with a hired machine and the driver was not an experienced operator.
    Question is, what will the result be from a safety point of view? I see two possible things happening, using half hitches will no longer be allowed and all people using an excavator, regardless of size, will need to be licensed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  11. Hendrik

    Hendrik Senior Member

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    Hmmnh the problem I see here is that the quick hitch might not be fitted with a in cab warning device to alert the operator that the quick hitch is not properly engaged.
     
  12. robin yates uk

    robin yates uk Senior Member

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    in the UK all plant operators have to have been issued with a certificate of competance.This usually entails a day of training by a trained instructor.Every machine type has a separate certificate, meaning a skid steer op cannot hop onto an excavator or dumper truck without the relevant paperwork. It is then up to the hirer or site manager to check if the paperwork is ok.
     
  13. Hendrik

    Hendrik Senior Member

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    Does this include small hired equipment?
     
  14. robin yates uk

    robin yates uk Senior Member

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    I have no knowledge of small hired plant but I imagine this would be the hirers responsibility to ensure the operator is covered by the relevant licence for insurance purposes.In a way I'm glad I have retired and out of the industry totally. The politically correct brigade are now ruling the UK.
     
  15. rare ss

    rare ss Senior Member

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    the alarms are usually wired into the electric switch to reverse the flow to the quick hitch ram to release the hitch, if the saftey pin is not engaged it wouldnt send the buzzer on unless the switch was, well switched to the other position
     
  16. DGMM

    DGMM Member

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    I have done this myself, very nearly hit someone with a detached bucket. I have a 5 ton machine with hydraulic quick hitch and a single locking pin. to disengage the hitch I hit a switch and then move my blade, turn switch off and move the blade and the hitch engages. I removed the pin then hit the switch, then decided to put the bucket on my trailer rather than on the ground next to me, walked the digger 10 meters or so, swung the bucket sideways and up and off she came. hit the edge of the trailer and bounced sideways and forward almost hitting someone who was not close enough to consider a danger.
    After many apologies, and a near heart attack, I did some testing to see what went wrong as I never touched the blade...
    As it turns out although single actions wouldnt disengage the hitch, multiple functions ie. tram, lift and swing for what ever reason allowed the hitch to creap?
    I know that I shouldn't have left the switch on but its one of those things... I thought it would be OK as long as I didnt touch the blade.

    I was very lucky. you can never be too careful
     
  17. stock

    stock Senior Member

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    There is an update to the UK one where Mark Handford was killed

    Court date for man charged after death of Solihull man on building site

    Jun 13 2012

    A digger driver is due to enter a plea at Birmingham Crown Court following the death of a Solihull man on a building site.

    Jonathan Gold, 47, is charged with perverting the course of justice, perjury and failing to ensure the safety of a non-employee.

    Site engineer Mark Handford, aged 22, died instantly when the bucket from an excavation digger came loose and fell on him as he helped to carry out levelling work on Claybrook Drive, in Redditch, on August 12, 2009.
    His family called for a mandatory ban on the type of digger mechanism involved after an inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
    Mr Gold was working as a sub-contractor on the site and was trading as Gold Plant Hire.
    He is due to appear at Crown Court on June 15 for a plea and case management hearing.


    Jayne Salt, head of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service Complex Casework Unit, said: “These charges relate to the death on a construction site of Mark Handford when Gold allegedly struck the deceased with an excavator that he was operating.
    “It is alleged that he then altered evidence at the scene, gave a false account to police of how the incident happened which caused them to investigate on a false basis and then in due course repeated that false account at an inquest.
    “This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
    “After careful consideration of all the evidence, I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case.”
    A trial date has been provisionally set for September 3.
    Mr Gold appeared at Birmingham Crown Court on March 5 for a preliminary hearing. No plea was taken and the defendant was released on bail.


    http://mark-handford.gonetoosoon.org/

    A digger driver is due to stand trial at Birmingham Crown Court following the death of a Solihull man on a building site.

    Jonathan Gold, 47, is charged with perverting the course of justice, perjury and failing to ensure the safety of a non employee.

    Site engineer Mark Handford, aged 22, died instantly when the bucket from an excavation digger came loose and fell on him as he helped to carry out levelling work on Claybrook Drive in Redditch on August 12, 2009. His family called for a mandatory ban on the type of digger mechanism involved after an inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

    Mr Gold was working as a subcontractor on the site and was trading as Gold Plant Hire.

    Jayne Salt, head of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service Complex Casework Unit, said: "These charges relate to the death on a construction site of Mark Handford when Gold allegedly struck the deceased with an excavator that he was operating.

    "It is alleged that he then altered evidence at the scene, gave a false account to police of how the incident happened which caused them to investigate on a false basis and then in due course repeated that false account at an inquest. "This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

    "After careful consideration of all the evidence, I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case."

    Mr Gold appeared at Birmingham Crown Court on March 5 for a preliminary hearing. No plea was taken and the defendant was released on bail.

    A plea and case management hearing has been set for June 15. A trial date has been provisionally set for September 3.


    THE boss of a promising young Midland engineer who died while at work on a building site told an inquest he tried to recreate the events leading up to his death to discover how the tragedy happened.

    James Burke, company director for JA Burke Construction Ltd, told a jury at Worcestershire Coroner's Court he carried out a series of tests on an excavation digger after its bucket allegedly fell on 22-year-old site engineer Mark Handford on August 12 last year.

    The inquest heard Mr Handford, from Shirley, died from "multiple head injuries" as he was overseeing levelling work at the new factory site in Redditch.

    Mr Burke said he carried out checks on the Komatsu 360-degree excavator, saying: "I had my concerns that buckets can't just fall off a machine. I felt very uneasy. I needed to go back to the site myself to try and find out what had happened."

    Mr Burke claimed the bucket fell to the ground during a test in which a large "safety pin" used to connect the bucket to the machine's quick-hitch device on its hydraulic arm was removed.

    Driver tells of horror at young engineer's death

    Sep 9 2010 by Sophie Cross, Birmingham Mail
    A CONSTRUCTION worker told an inquest how he cradled the body of a young Midland site engineer after he was fatally struck by a bucket that fell off an excavation digger.
    John Gold, who had been operating the machine, said he “screamed for help” after witnessing the bucket fall and then seeing 22-year-old Mark Handford lying on the floor.
    A jury at Worcestershire Coroner’s Court yesterday returned a verdict of accidental death.
    Mr Gold, a groundwork and landscaping contractor, had been working with Mr Handford to level ground at a construction site in Redditch. He described the “horrific” moment he saw the bucket fall as Mr Handford went to mark out another area of soil to be removed, saying: “Mark walked away from the machine, out of the danger zone. All of a sudden he turned back around.


    “He went to bend down. The bucket of the machine dropped at the same time as he did that.
    “I shouted out, hoping it had missed him. He was lying on the floor on his back. I cradled him in my arms and screamed for help.”
    Dr Dominic Swan, a mechanical engineering expert for the Health and Safety Executive, suggested several factors contributed to the incident, without one of which “the accident might never have happened”. He said a back-up “safety pin” was not fitted or had fallen out, the bucket was raised, the engine was turned off and a check valve was leaking.

     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012
  18. Walter Kim

    Walter Kim New Member

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  19. Puffie40

    Puffie40 Well-Known Member

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    This video of a near miss is very relevant: