A worker died on Sept. 19 at the Amazon warehouse facility in Middleton Township, Pennsylvania when he was run over by a tractor-trailer as it was backing up.
The Cumberland County, Pennsylvania coroner reported that the 28-year-old Devan M. Shoemaker died from multiple traumatic injuries as he was hooking up a trailer. The man was pronounced dead a few minutes after the accident occurred. Witnesses confirmed that the man was helping another driver hook up a trailer when the fatal accident occurred.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the tractor-trailer accident.
Backing up a tractor-trailer or connecting a trailer is always a hazardous business. Whether the truck driver is backing up a trailer or connecting a trailer, extreme caution must be used. In the above accident, the major mistake was that the trucker was attempting to connect a trailer to his rig with the help of only the deceased.
Experts recommend that when connecting a trailer, there be another person there for extra safety. That person can communicate with the driver and make sure that the connecting process is being done in a safe manner. Without a third person to serve as a spotter for the connecting process, the driver does not know if something has gone wrong. He may continue to move the rig and injure or kill the helper connecting the rig, as appears to have happened in this terrible accident.
- Get out and look and take your time. Truckers stress that it is very important for the driver to take his time, get out and look if he is not sure. Stand in the spotter’s position and see where you are trying to go.
- Never back up unless necessary. Backing up is inherently difficult with a big rig and can be dangerous. There are some cases where one has to back up, such as connecting a tractor to a trailer or pulling into a loading dock, of course.
- Get a spotter. It is always recommended to use a spotter when doing any backing up with a tractor or trailer. When the helper is actually helping the driver to complete a task while backing, another spotter should be used for extra safety.
- Blow your horn before moving. When using a spotter or helper, you can avoid accidents by tooting the horn briefly when you are about to move the rig.
In these types of workplace accidents involving tractor trailers, it is possible that the company and/or driver could be found negligent due to not following safety procedures. Wrongful death lawsuits can result in large settlements for the grieving family, and provide a sense of closure to a terrible tragedy.