Safety Issues



The Truck Operator

The truck driver was a 56-year-old white male who was hired into the company April 21, 2014. His occupation was truck driver. He had been employed with the company for twenty-three days. However, he had previous experience in his field and held a bachelor’s degree.



The Investigation


The truck driver left his out-of-state employer’s truck terminal at 7:45 am on May 14, 2014, in his Fruehauf tanker truck. He was to travel 112 miles to deliver 6,000 gallons of crude oil to an oil distribution plant in Kentucky. The truck driver arrived at the oil distribution plant and checked in with the facility’s gate guard at approximately 10:20 am. He then proceeded toward the warehouse bay area to deliver his 6,000 gallons of oil. With the assistance of another employee at the oil distribution plant, the truck driver backed his tanker into one of the open bays. The assisting employee then went about his duties as the truck driver exited his truck and began the process of venting the tanker compartments. While the other employee was in the bay area at the time of the incident, the truck driver was not in his line of sight. The employee responded to the sound of the truck driver falling approximately 10 feet to concrete floor below and he found the truck driver lying on the passenger’s side of the tanker with injuries. The truck driver had fallen 9 feet, 10 inches to the concrete ground below. The employee immediately shouted for other workers to help; a call to 911 was placed at 10:28 am. When emergency medical services arrived at 10:34 am, they immediately called for a medical helicopter to airlift the truck driver to the nearest local trauma center where he died the following day.

No one witnessed the incident, so it is unclear whether the truck driver slipped climbing or fell traversing the top of the tanker. It is also unclear whether the truck driver’s type II diabetic disease contributed to this incident. The truck driver died from his injuries on May 15, 2014 at 7:08 pm.





Employers requiring employees to access the top of tankers must provide adequate fall protection.

Employers should consider equipping their tanker trucks with rail systems.



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, Oregon, New Jersey and Washington.

This month’s safety issues is based on an investigative report from Kentucky Face Program.  The complete detailed Kentucky FACE INVESTIGATION REPORT: 14KY021 includes additional case information, recommendations and discussion.  This report can be found at  Further information on Kentucky FACE Program, including additional Kentucky FACE Investigation Reports, Hazard Alerts, truck driver training and fatality summaries can be accessed at

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.

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