Attempt to Pull out Stuck Pipe Results in Serious Injuries & $55,000 Fine

Workers were drilling when the pipe they were installing underground got stuck. To pull it out, they attached a pull-head to one end and then attached a three-foot chain to the outer part of the pull-head with an open hook and the other end of the chain to the bucket of a backhoe. As a worker used the backhoe to pull the chain and pull-head, the pipe snapped, flinging the pull-head and chain backwards and into the cab of the backhoe. The worker operating the backhoe was struck on the head and suffered extensive injuries. The contractor pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the hooks attaching the chain to the pull-head and the backhoe were equipped with safety catches. The court fined it $55,000 [Pachecos Contractors Ltd., Govt. News Release, Nov. 14, 2013].