A 53-year-old man died in southwestern Iowa early in the summer of 2004 when he fell from his tractor under its rear wheel and the trailing rotary cutter. The incident happened in the late evening darkness. He was operating an old, small tractor with a rotary cutter mounted on its rear three-point hitch. The tractor had a wide front axle but was not equipped with a cab, roll-over protective structure (ROPS) or the seatbelt which is an integral component of standard ROPS installations. The farmer was mowing weeds when the wheels on the right side of the tractor ran over a tree stump. The farmer was pitched from his operating position on the tractor to the ground ahead of the tractor's left rear wheel. The tractor and rotary cutter combination stalled with the farmer under the rotary cutter. Discovered by a neighbor, who immediately summoned emergency assistance, the farmer died from an open laceration to his chest before emergency personnel arrived. RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. Operators should follow tractor and rotary cutter operator's manual instructions, safety messages and safety signs, and all applicable safe operating practices when using rotary cutters. 2. Rotary cutters, especially when operated on adverse terrain, should be used with tractors that have ROPS and seatbelt. 3. The area to be mowed should be scouted, and cleared of debris, with all obstacles effectively marked if they cannot be removed. 4. Rotary cutters should be operated when lighting is sufficient to expose marked and unmarked obstacles, debris, uneven terrain, and other hazards.
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; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Farmers; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Safety-belts; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Tractors; Warning-signs; Work-areas