A part-time scrap metal collector, age 50, was killed at the beginning of 2005 when the tractor he was operating overturned on the downward slope off the outer edge of an old path cut into the side of a bluff. He had been contacted to remove scrap metal from the back of a neighbor's property. The tractor had a tricycle-type front axle with a front-end loader mounted to its frame but did not have a rollover protective structure (ROPS). He salvaged an open, metal tank of the kind typically used for watering livestock, lifted it with the loader and steered the tractor back down the steep trail. The tank repeatedly came free from the loader. In the process of reloading the tank, then backing the tractor to reset his direction on the trail, the tractor's rear wheels spun in reverse gear and slipped off the trail's edge. The tractor-loader combination overturned, coming to rest on its top against a small tree. The tractor operator was pinned between the tractor and the tree with the lift arm of the loader frame across his abdomen. His brothers who worked with the victim in their scrap metal salvaging enterprise found him hours later, after midnight. Emergency medical services were called and arrived within ten minutes. No life signs were detected and it was determined the victim died at the scene. RECOMMENDATIONS based on our investigation are as follows: 1. All tractors used with front-end loaders should be equipped with a ROPS and seat belt. 2. ROPS should be designed for all tractor makes and models in common, productive use and owners should have ROPS installed or retire these tractors from active use. 3. Tricycle-type, narrow-front tractors should not be equipped with front-end loaders. Tractors equipped with a front-end loader should be used with special caution, and preferably only on level ground, have a wide front axle, rear wheels set as wide as possible, and adequate counter weights installed. 4. Tractor operators should be aware of the overturn hazard and how to reduce the hazard and associated risk, including securing loads and ballasting with counterweight. 5. Operators should use extreme caution when operating tractors on or near steeply sloping terrain and on pathways with ditches or embankments. 6. A communication plan should be established and implemented when the work to be done includes working alone.
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; Equipment-operators; Work-practices; Tractors; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment