Death due to Heat (KV 198)

 

What Happened?

At 2:00 p.m. on July 17th, 2018, an employee was using a lawn edger for approximately 6 hours and began to feel lightheaded. The employee was placed in the shade and given a sports beverage and water to drink. The employee began to feel better and went back to work where he soon passed out and unresponsive. The employee began to have "seizure-like" activity and experienced multiple organ failure, severe dehydration, and hyperthermia. The employee later died.

Contributing Factors

Have the mindset of being my “brother's keeper” would have helped them identify the warning signs sooner. Additionally, having the proper training to help notice the signs of dehydration and heat stress would have also served beneficial.

What Can We Learn?

Traps

Physical Environment: The work area was very hot and the employee pushed himself beyond the limits.

Peer Pressure: The employee didn't want to let his coworkers down so he allowed his symptoms to progress without taking the necessary precautions.

Tools

Peer Check was able to identify the team member looking sick during his break. However, not contacting the emergency personnel services immediately, inadequate training, and the physical environment created the deadly outcome.   

Ask the Right Questions

How does this relate to our work?

Where do we have similar traps?

What Tools can we use to avoid a similar incident?

Was a stop work point missed?