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Farmer Dies After Fall with Tractor from a Low Water Bridge in Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Health in co-operation with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is conducting a research project on work related fatalities in Missouri. The goal of this project, entitled Missouri Fatal Accident Circumstances and Epidemiology (MO FACE) is to show a measurable reduction in traumatic occupational fatalities in the State of Missouri. This goal will be met by identifying causal and risk factors that contribute to work related fatalities. The identification of these factors will enable more effective intervention strategies to be developed, and implemented by the employers and employees. This project does not determine fault or legal liability associated with a fatality incident nor with current regulations. All MO FACE data will be reported to NIOSH for trend analysis on a national basis. This will help NIOSH provide employers effective recommendations for injury prevention. All personal/company identifiers will be removed from all reports to send to NIOSH to protect the confidentiality of all those voluntarily participating with the program.

FACE Investigation: #92MO00601


A 63 year-old rural farmer died following a tractor incident. The victim was driving tractor across a narrow bridge when he lost control and the tractor and victim fell to the creek bottom. The MO FACE Investigator concluded that in order to prevent future similar occurrences, employers should:

  • Routinely identify potential hazards in the area where they work and implement appropriate control measures.


On June 6, 1992, a 63 year-old farmer was fatality injured when he and tractor fell from bridge in Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Health was notified on June 6, 1992, by the County Coroner's office. The MO FACE Investigator gathered information from the coroner and the sheriff's office. Photographs of the incident were also obtained from the coroner.

The victim was a 63 year-old self-employed farmer who was traveling towards his home after working in a nearby field. The tractor he was driving was equipped with a sub-soil fertilizing apparatus


On June 6, 1992, a 63 year-old self-employed farmer was working his tractor equipped with sub-soil injection fertilizing equipment and had been working in a local field spreading fertilizer. The victim then left the field and proceeded to drive his tractor on a gravel county road in the direction of his residence. The approximate time of the incident was 12:00 noon, the weather conditions were partly sunny and dry. The victim was traveling at approximately 15 miles an hour on a downward grade roadway. The victim then had to negotiate a slight left curve and was approaching a narrow concrete bridge over a creek bed. The bridge was constructed with an iron railing on each side. The victim was negotiating the bridge and got too close to the left side when his left rear tractor tire struck the iron railing. This action sent the tractor into a 180 degree spin to the right. The tractor with the equipment still attached then fell seven feet down and 10 feet away from the left side of the bridge. The victim was ejected and struck the creek bank approximately six feet past the tractor. The victim then crawled or walked approximately 150 feet from the scene to seek assistance. He was found unconscious with-in 30 minutes after the incident. An ambulance was dispatched as well as the sheriff's department. The county coroner was notified and in route to the incident after notification by sheriff. Life Beat helicopter was also dispatched and was in route to the scene. The ambulance service arrived and quickly treated and immobilized the victim. He was then transported by helicopter to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.


Severe crushing injury to the upper chest.


Recommendation: Employers should routinely identify potential hazards in the area where they work and implement appropriate control measures.

Discussion: An exact clear cut recommendation on how to prevent such occurrences from happening again would be difficult to make. There is no indication of any mechanical failure, nor is there any indication that some other source of energy, i.e., another passing vehicle was present at the time of the incident. It is in my best determination that in order to prevent similar future occurrences that farmers should routinely identify potential hazards in the area where they work and implement appropriate control measures.

Please use information listed on the Contact Sheet on the NIOSH FACE web site to contact In-house FACE program personnel regarding In-house FACE reports and to gain assistance when State-FACE program personnel cannot be reached.

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