Tractor with Cable Hitched to Tow Brush Overturned Rearward on Farmer

Iowa Case Report: 03IA022
Report Date: July 6, 2009

The following report is the product of our Cooperative State partner and is presented here in its original unedited form from the state. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


A 56-year-old farmer from east central Iowa died early in the spring of 2003. He was clearing brush, limbs, and fallen trees from along a creek gully at the edge of a pasture on his farm. A strip of level ground separated the creek from a berm that ran parallel to it and hid the work area from view of the farmstead. He was dragging the load toward a burn pile using a braided-wire cable. The cable’s other end was hitched high above the drawbar at the rear of his old utility tractor. The front of the skidding load dug into the face of the berm as the tractor pulled forward away from the gulley toward the burn pile. The tractor overturned to the rear pinning the victim under its right rear wheel fender (Photo 1). The farmer was working alone and the overturn was not witnessed. His wife was first on the scene late the same afternoon, hours after the incident. Several fire rescue, ambulance, and law enforcement service providers responded to her call for emergency assistance, extricated the victim, and placed the tractor upright on its wheels. The tractor was subsequently sold, dismantled, and its parts resold.

Tractor with Cable Hitched to Tow Brush Overturned Rearward on Farmerpdf icon [PDF 304 KB]

Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015