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Case No.64

Caught between the bucket of a drag shovel and the vertical steel sheeting in a shaft

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[Description of the Accident]

During excavation work by a drag shovel in a shaft surrounded by vertical steel sheeting to install a bridge abutment, the victim who was working in the shaft was caught between the bucket of the drag shovel and the vertical steel sheeting.

This work was to install bridge abutments on the north and south sides of a river . Vertical steel sheeting had been installed to shore up the area of the south side bridge abutment, and the installation of the first level of the shoring to the ground level had been finished on the day before.

On the day of the accident, the scheduled work was to install the second level of shoring to the depth of 3.5 m from the ground level. At the time of the accident, excavation work was being carried out to remove the natural ground inside the area to the depth of 3.5 m and extending southwards by locating the drag shovel outside the vertical steel sheeting on the north side.

After excavating several buckets of soil and loading a dump truck, the operator of the drag shovel again lowered the bucket to the inside of the shaft. The victim, who had been manually excavating the natural ground at the northeast corner of the shaft with a hand shovel, was caught between the bucket and the vertical steel sheeting of the shaft, causing a contusion to his chest that led to an acute heart attack.

[Causes supposed]

1. Although excavation work by drag shovel and manual labor were being carried out at the same time, any conductor was not deployed.

2. The work process and workers' allocation for the excavation work by the drag shovel, and by manual labor etc., had not been made clear.

3. An operations chief for natural ground excavation work was not in attendance.

4. The safety check by the drag shovel operator were not sufficient. In this case it was difficult to watch the inside of the shaft from the operator' position.

[Type of business] Bridge construction
[Caused by] Excavation machinery
[Type of accident] Caught between objects
[Number of victims] One fatality