NIOSH logo and tagline

Farmer Asphyxiated when Entangled in Drives of Box-type Manure Spreader

Iowa Case Report: 04IA058
Report Date: December 23, 2008

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 43-year-old farmer from north central Iowa died in the fall of 2004 when he became entangled in the drive mechanism for a box-type manure spreader’s distributor/beater and bottom conveyor.

The victim was operating the tractor and manure spreader on a narrow strip of land near the farmstead on the farm he rented. He stopped the tractor and left the operator’s position with the tractor’s engine running and the tractor’s power takeoff (PTO) engaged.

The tractor’s PTO output shaft continued to deliver power to the spreader and onward through its horizontal side shaft to the gearbox for the beater and conveyor drives at the right rear corner of the spreader. The event was unwitnessed, but at some point the victim’s clothing was caught and became entangled in the chain drives of the spreader, pulling the victim inward toward the moving mechanism, further entangling him. There was no guarding on the horizontal side shaft or the sprockets and chains at the right rear corner of the spreader where the victim became entangled.

Farmer Asphyxiated when Entangled in Drives of Box-type Manure Spreader [PDF 408 KB]