Farmer Pinned Under Driver’s Side Front Tire of a Front-end Loader, Michigan
Michigan Case Report: 10MI122
Report Date: 5/16/2013
In the fall of 2010, a male farmer in his 60s died when he was pinned under the driver’s side front tire of a Ford tractor Model number 7740 equipped with a loader bucket. A walking path for his pastured horses was located on a steep slope on the north side of a sand-packed driveway leading to his home. A damaged tree was close to this walking path and the decedent was concerned that, if the tree fell, it would cause injury to his horses. The decedent drove the tractor to the tree’s location and stopped it with the front wheels at the top of the embankment slope. It is postulated that the decedent parked the tractor with the bucket raised slightly and resting against the tree to help direct the tree’s fall. The tractor was running so as to keep the bucket raised and against the tree. The decedent got out of the tractor and cut the tree. When the tree began to fall, the tractor moved forward and down the embankment (Figure 1). The decedent was unable to move to safety and was struck by and pinned under the front end loader’s driver’s side front tire. His wife found him and called for emergency response. The decedent was declared dead at the scene.
Key factors in this incident:
- Misuse of the tractor’s loader bucket.
- Working on the ground in the travel path of the tractor.
- Improper tree felling techniques.
- Use tractors, including tractors equipped with attachments, according to manufacturer’s operator’s manual.
- Before initiating a task, conduct a site assessment to determine hazards and appropriate work practices to minimize identified hazards, including topography challenges, equipment location and working on the ground in the travel path of equipment.
- Use proper directional tree felling techniques (notch and back cut) with chainsaws and wear appropriate personal protective equipment to prevent injury.
- When working alone, establish a check-in procedure with another individual to help assure prompt emergency assistance.