Ed* had made hundreds of deliveries of fuel to this gas station. It was a sunny spring morning, a good day for making his rounds delivering fuel to customers. This customer was to receive a delivery of four grades of fuel, which were being carried in two compartments in the truck’s tank and two in its trailer. He had just unloaded his trailer’s two compartments of fuel into the station’s underground storage tanks. He was standing by the passenger side of his rig and had just removed the vapor recovery hose from the trailer when his rig started to roll forward…
THE FUEL TANKER DRIVER
Ed was a 67-year-old fuel tanker delivery truck driver who had worked for his employer for 16 years. He made about five fuel deliveries per day to gas stations. He drove a 17,000 pound tank truck pulling a tank trailer which weighed about 13,000 pounds when empty.
As the truck rolled forward down an approximately four degree slope across the gas station’s parking lot, Ed began running. Apparently he was attempting to get around the front of the truck so that he could get into the cab and stop the truck. He never made it. The truck’s bumper struck him just before it smashed into a coffee stand on the far side of the parking lot. A bystander got into the truck and backed it up, parked it, and put chocks under the tires to keep it from moving. Emergency medical services personnel and deputies from the county sheriff’s office responded and performed CPR at the scene. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
An investigation determined that: 1) The truck’s parking brake was not set 2) Chocks were not placed under the wheels of the truck which was parked on an incline 3) The driver training provided by his employer did not include industry and manufacturer recommended practices to prevent the movement of a fuel truck during delivery of fuel. The truck and trailer were parked on the “crown” above the gas station’s underground fuel storage tanks, which sloped downward at a four degree angle. When Ed removed the vapor recovery hose from the trailer, it disengaged the trailer’s interlock brake system and that combined with the empty trailer tanks, shifted the center of gravity to the front of the truck, which may have caused it to roll forward.
- Truck drivers should always set the parking brake before exiting the truck.
- Chock at least one “drive” wheel on each side of the truck when parked on an incline or when delivering fuel.
- Never attempt to stop a moving truck from outside the vehicle.
- Train and supervise fuel delivery drivers in industry and truck and trailer manufacturer recommended practices to ensure safe unloading of fuel.
Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention(SHARP)
PO Box 44330
Olympia, WA 98504-4330
Safety Issues is presented by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in partnership with the National Truckers Association (NTA), with major contributions from State partners funded by NIOSH through the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. The goal of the FACE Program is to prevent occupational fatalities across the nation by identifying and investigating work situations at high risk for injury and then developing and disseminating prevention strategies to those who can intervene in the workplace. State partners who contribute Safety Issues postings based on recent investigative reports are California, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, New Jersey, and Washington.
This month’s Safety Issues was authored by the Washington FACE Program located within the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Additional WA FACE Investigation Reports, Fatality Narratives, Hazard Alerts, Fatal Facts, and data summaries can be accessed through the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) at http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research/FACE/default.asp
For additional information and training materials on how to prevent fatal and nonfatal injuries in the trucking industry, go the L&I webpage for the Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis (TIRES) initiative at http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research/Trucking/Default.asp
The Safety Issues and Investigation Reports which are the products of NIOSH Cooperative State partners are presented here in their original unedited form from the states. They are intended for educational purposes only. The findings and conclusions in each report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the NIOSH.