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DATE: November 25, 2003

INCIDENT TYPE: Serious Injury

LOCATION: District 5

TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Culvert Inspection

THE ACCIDENT: On October 31, 2003 two Caltrans design engineers along with a private contractor were inspecting a culvert that runs beneath Highway 1 just outside the San Luis Obispo city limits. The contractor had parked his 4x4 Chevy pick-up on the shoulder about four feet behind the Caltrans Ford pickup and next to the guardrail. The men then left the highway on foot and went down an embankment to inspect a culvert. A rainstorm passed over and dropped a slight amount of rain on the roadway. After a short time the men returned to their vehicles and prepared to leave. The contractor walked between his vehicle and the Caltrans vehicle just as a Ford Ranger crashed into the rear of his truck. This forced the contractor's pick-up forward pinning him between the two vehicles. One of the Caltrans design engineers was struck by the contractor's truck and knocked into the guardrail. The contractor sustained serious injuries and the Caltrans engineer had some slight bruising to the left leg.

CONCLUSIONS: While reviewing this accident it became very evident that the contractor did not look towards traffic before walking between the vehicles and that the vehicles were parked very close together. An inspection of the accident scene revealed a pullout just yards from the point of impact where all of the vehicles could have been parked completely off the roadway.

RECOMMENDATIONS: All staff should be reminded of the following safety procedures:

  1. Plan all work prior to leaving for the field and include safety precautions in your plan.
  2. When arriving at work locations select a parking site that provides the maximum protection.
  3. Park vehicles to provide physical protection while working on foot.
  4. Always be alert to the conditions around you.
  5. Always face moving traffic.
  6. Enter your vehicle from the off-traffic side if possible.
  7. Reduce exposure by staying behind a guardrail, K-rail or other obstacle whenever possible.
  8. Minimize the amount of time spent on foot near moving traffic.




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