On Friday, March 4th, 2022, around 5:10 p.m., Polk County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Polk County Fire Rescue responded to the Polk County Landfill regarding a reported industrial accident. Landfill personnel advised a worker (contracted they CertiTemp), 40-year-old Aaron Henderson of Winter Haven, was crushed by a bulldozer while inside of a porta potty.
Polk County Fire Rescue pronounced Henderson deceased on-scene.
Investigation revealed a heavy equipment operator (Contract worker for CertiTemp) was operating a bulldozer in an area within the landfill identified as “Class 1.” Within this area, Henderson was assigned as a “spotter” meaning he was tasked with being on the ground, providing traffic control to incoming and outgoing dump trucks dumping trash within the landfill.
At approximately 5:10 p.m., the end of a regular workday, the bulldozer driver began to drive his assigned bulldozer up an embankment towards a “heavy equipment staging area” in order to park his bulldozer for the end of the day. While doing so, the front blade of his bulldozer was elevated 3-4 feet off the ground, and he could not see directly in front of him due to the blade obstructing his view. The driver negotiated up the embankment towards the staging area, and once on level ground, he began to turn his bulldozer and heard a loud crumble. As he continued forward he noticed he went over a porta potty which he was unaware was near the staging area. He immediately exited the bulldozer and ran towards the porta potty to see if anyone was inside of it. At that time, he observed Henderson unresponsive inside the porta potty. The foreman responded to the scene and dialed 911.
OSHA was notified immediately. This is an ongoing investigation.
An autopsy will be conducted at a later date but at this time it does appear to be a tragic, industrial accident.