During the fall of 1998 a 60-year-old Iowa farmer was killed when he started his tractor. The propane-powered tractor was parked in a machine shed, which had a dirt floor. The farmer was working alone and evidently assumed the tractor transmission was in neutral, then started the engine while standing on the ground to the left of the tractor or while standing on the side step of the tractor. The ignition switch was easily reachable from the ground on the left side. The tractor started and lurched forward, smashing equipment in front of it and partially crashing through the tin wall of the shed. There were no witnesses to the event, but it appears that the farmer was standing on the ground, holding in the clutch with his left hand, starting the tractor with his other hand, then letting out the clutch assuming the transmission was in neutral. The tractor moved ahead about 3 m (10 ft), stalled, and stopped when it hit a corner post of the machine shed. The farmer was found trapped partially under the left rear wheel of the tractor, dead at the scene. The tractor engine was cold, with the ignition key in the on position. The tractor originally had a safety switch built-in to the transmission, but it had been bypassed by the previous owner of the tractor. This enabled starting the tractor in gear when the clutch was pressed down. Recommendations based on our investigation are as follows: 1. Farmers and tractor operators should not bypass factory-installed safety devices. 2. Tractor operators should not attempt to start their machines from any position other than sitting in the operator's station.
Region-7; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Farmers; Tractors; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture