Employee Crushed in Cab of Excavator (KV 202)


What Happened?

At 12:30 p.m. on August 2nd, 2018, an employee was operating a Kubota excavator to dig up the root system of a large tree that was still standing. As the employee worked to remove the roots of the tree, the tree fell on the cab of the excavator. The employee was crushed beneath the weight of the collapsed cab roof and suffered asphyxiation. The Mason County Coroner’s Office contributed his death to the crushing of his chest.

Contributing Factors

There are no contributing factors.

What Can We Learn?


Time Pressure: The employee may have felt urgency that pushed him to make poor decisions, take short-cuts, or not follow the rules.

Overconfidence: Did the worker overestimate his knowledge, underestimate risks, and exaggerate their ability to control events?


The employee could have used a Peer Check before and during the roots removal.

The employee could have used a Questioning Attitude to question every aspect of what he was doing to ensure he was fully aware of the situation and consequences.

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?