Kentucky agency produces guidance report after technician dies during air spring maintenance

The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) has published a report following a fatality investigation it completed after the death of a heavy-duty technician on the job in 2016.

The KIPRCE says the report addresses the death of a 50-year-old male technician who was killed when an over-pressurized suspension air spring he was replacing exploded and struck his forehead, killing him.

According to the report, the technician was one of two employees who were instructed to install a new suspension air spring on the left forward rear axle of the vehicle’s tractor. The technicians used the air from the shop air compressor to fill the air bag. KIPRC states “the shop air compressor pressure was set to 175 psi. The vehicle air system on the truck that is normally used to fill the air springs is set to 120 psi. Using the vehicle air system is recommended in the manufacturer’s instruction on installation of air springs.

“Instead of using a jack and jack stands to raise the axle, it was common practice for the employees to use the shop air system connected to the vehicle air system to raise the axle. As they were raising the left rear frame with the newly installed suspension air spring, the air spring exploded from the over pressurization, hitting the victim in the forehead. The victim’s safety glasses were in his pocket at the time of the explosion.”

He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The report goes on to address other mistakes that occurred in the shop leading up to the tragedy, and a variety of other safety steps heavy-duty shops must adhere to in order to avoid such a tragic event at their facility.

“We believe the report may help prevent future serious injury or fatalities when mechanics perform similar repairs in the future,” says KIPRC Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance Program Manager Michael Turner.

To read the report, please CLICK HERE.

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