On Tuesday, September 2, 2003, a 78-year-old male farmer died when the tractor he was driving overturned on its side as he was attempting to change direction while on a hill. The victim had driven his International Farmall Cub tractor with an attached trailer on a paved roadway to the entrance gate to his property. He entered the property and traveled several hundred yards through a meadow to an area where there were trees with damaged limbs. The hill was on the operator's left side. His intent was to cut the damaged limbs and use them for firewood for next year's maple syrup production. The sequence of events is unknown. His wife thought he must have experienced some sort of health emergency. At some point after he stopped the tractor, he unhooked the trailer. The victim, instead of walking back to the house or driving the tractor back the way he came or taking another alternative route, attempted to drive the tractor backward up the hill, possibly as a shortcut to the house. Backing the tractor up the hill, the victim reached a point where he could turn the tractor wheels to align him in the direction of his home. His tractor tracks showed evidence that the tractor's tires were slipping in the dirt. The victim turned the front wheels to the right, positioning his tractor. After turning the wheels, the tractor rolled sideways down the hill. Rolling over two times, the tractor came to rest on top of the victim. When the victim didn't return for lunch, his wife went to look for him. She found him lying face down with the tractor seat and rear axle on the top of his back and his head against a tree stump. She ran to a neighbor's home to call for emergency response. A sheriff department officer arrived, and the officer and the victim's wife maneuvered the tractor enough to pull the victim from under the tractor. Additional emergency response personnel arrived and the victim was declared dead at the scene. Recommendations: 1. Equip older tractors with a rollover protection structure (ROPS) and a seat belt; the local county extension agent, local equipment dealer or equipment manufacturer should be contacted to see if a retro-fit ROPS/seat belt system is available. 2. Establish a farm tractor operating rule for all who use tractors on the farm to only use established roadways or paths on land with obvious slopes and hills too steep for safe tractor operation to minimize the risk of tractor overturn. 3. Owners of small farms should consider ongoing or annual agricultural safety training to keep abreast of safety issues that can impact their operations. 4. Consider carrying a reliable 2-way communication device for emergency communication in case of injury and emergency situations.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-5; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards; Farmers; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Tractors