Freeport police and fire were called to an emergency at 136-140 Main Street in Freeport, Maine just before 9 a.m. on Tuesday. A man, working with a three-man crew, was crushed after the forks of a skid loader dropped granite steps on the man.
The worker, identified as Scott W. MacDonald, 59, was helping the operator of a Bobcat skid loader when the forks suddenly fell. The forks, which were loaded with granite, fell on MacDonald, crushing him to death. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The building where the accident occurred is a two-tiered shopping center which houses Olympia Sports, Tuscan Bistro, and Subway.
Freeport police and officials from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate the accident. The loader was sent to a dealer to see if mechanical failure was a factor.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in conjunction with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), released a report in 1998 highlighting the dangers of skid loaders. Using work-related injury and fatality databases, the report found 54 work-related fatalities involving skid loaders that occurred between 1980 and 1992.
Most commonly – 25 fatalities – involved a worker becoming pinned between the bucket and frame or the lift arms and frame of the machine. Another 15 fatalities were classified as “crushing” incidents.