A bulldozer is a powerful machine used to clear the ground by pushing different types of material on a construction site. Bulldozers are used mainly in construction and can be very dangerous to those who operate them and to those nearby.
Operating a bulldozer and other heavy equipment requires extensive training and certification. Safety guidelines must be followed on a construction site because negligence can result in severe injuries and even death.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC has decades of experience handling complex cases involving bulldozers. Contact our office, and one of our personal injury lawyers will provide you with a free case review.
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How Bulldozer Accidents Can Occur
Construction sites are dangerous places, and preventative measures should protect the operator and everyone else in the vicinity. It is the responsibility of employers to provide safe work environments and the duty of workers to adhere to the safety protocols established on every job site.
Mandatory training in safety and health is essential for construction workers to complete, especially before using heavy machinery.
A highly trained bulldozer operator is still at risk of getting hurt in an accident. Construction laborers, operators of heavy machinery, truck drivers, and managers are most likely to be killed or injured in a bulldozer accident.
Accidents involving bulldozers can occur for different reasons, including defective equipment, inadequate safety measures, and negligence.
Common Types of Bulldozer Accidents
A thorough evaluation of the events leading to most fatalities and accidents on worksites involving bulldozers will reveal that preventative measures may have been taken to avoid the incident. Some of the common types of bulldozer accidents are listed below.
Failure of the Driver to Notice Another Construction Worker or Bystander
Some accidents result from distractions or simply not noticing that someone is in the path of the machinery while it is moving. Additionally, if the bulldozer’s driver loses control, they may run the vehicle into people, causing fatalities.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),  75% of struck-by fatalities involve trucks, cranes, or other heavy equipment. Injuries and deaths are likely when the bulldozer rolls over the victim.
Sudden Jolts or Jerking Caused by Equipment Malfunctions or Uneven Surfaces
When a bulldozer reacts sporadically or unpredictably, it can cause harm to the operator and others nearby. This unexpected movement is common when the machine is operated on uneven terrain, on the edge of a drop, or a sloped surface.
If a bulldozer is defective, the operator may also lose control of the equipment and strike other construction workers and objects in its path.
The Bulldozer Falls or Rolls Over
A bulldozer can fall or roll over if operated on a slope, edge of a cliff, or near a depression. When a bulldozer falls, the driver is often forced to choose between jumping off of the machine and taking the chance of being crushed inside of it. Either scenario can result in serious injuries.
Collisions With Vehicles
When operating near roads, operators of any machinery must pay close attention when backing onto streets, as large machinery is capable of crushing vehicles with little effort and injuring their occupants.
Leaving a Bulldozer Unattended
If mobile equipment is left running without an operator present, an accident is at risk of occurring.
It is important to shut off and set the brakes when loading and unloading mobile equipment. A bulldozer could slip into gear and cause destruction as it moves unguided, or people who are unauthorized to use the machine may attempt to do so and harm others on the scene.
Influence of Drugs and Alcohol
Operating any machinery at all is dangerous when under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but the danger is exacerbated by the sheer power and force exerted by a bulldozer.
Bulldozer Safety and Preventative Measures
Operators of bulldozers and other heavy machinery must complete training programs and follow safety guidelines. Their extensive knowledge in operating bulldozers and equipment gives them the tools to protect themselves on a job site.
Fatalities can occur if the machine is faulty and the operator loses control. In other cases, if required protocols are not followed, a worker’s negligence can also result in fatalities.
Some of the standard safety guidelines that should be followed when operating a bulldozer include:
- Only qualified operators should use a bulldozer
- The driver should wear a seatbelt
- The bulldozer should be kept away from power lines
- The bulldozer should be kept away from the water main
- Warning devices should be audible to the whole construction site
- The bulldozer must shut off completely when refueling
- Bulldozers and other heavy equipment must be inspected before each shift
- Loading and unloading equipment should occur on level ground, rather than at steep angles
- Make sure the trailer ramp is an adequate size for unloading and loading equipment
- Bulldozer should be parked on level ground
- Setting the vehicle’s brakes after parking
Employers and construction workers at job sites are constantly working to make the equipment and the environment safe, but injuries are still likely to occur. Safety experts recommend that workers stay safe by spotting and helping each other with equipment.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Bulldozer Accident
A bulldozer accident can result in severe injuries such as broken or shattered bones, loss of a limb, traumatic brain injuries, or even death. If you are injured on a worksite, you should have your employer file an accident report and seek treatment.
Whether you or your loved one’s injury resulted from negligence, all workers are guaranteed worker’s compensation benefits to help mitigate the financial impact of workplace injuries.
If another company was working with your employer and is found at fault, you may also be able to file a lawsuit against this third party. It is ideal to hire a personal injury attorney to further investigate the facts of your case and fight to compensate you for damages and pain and suffering.
If you have a loved one who was killed due to negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the liable party.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney If You Are a Victim of a Bulldozer Accident
Construction site accidents will result in injured workers having ongoing treatment, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You should seek legal representation to assist in recovering the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bulldozer accident, an experienced attorney will be able to investigate and provide you with options for filing a lawsuit. Depending on the facts revolving around how the accident occurred, you may be able to obtain more than the workers’ compensation benefits provided.
Our legal team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to providing the best possible representation to our personal injury clients. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Our top-rated Chicago-based law firm has an excellent reputation for providing results. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation with an attorney so that we can review your case, answer your questions about the legal process and advise you on how you should proceed with your case.
If we cannot collect compensation on your behalf, our services will be free of charge. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Resources:  OSHA