Orchard Tractor Operator Dies When Run Over by Rotary Mower After Falling From Tractor, Washington
Washington Case Report: 13WA015
Release Date: May 24, 2017
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.
In April of 2013, an orchard worker died when he was run over by a rotary mower after he fell from the tractor it was attached to. The victim was using the tractor and mower attachment to cut the grass between rows of pear trees. The incident was not witnessed, but investigators believe that it is most probable that he fell when he attempted to dismount the tractor to retrieve his hat that may have been knocked off by a low hanging branch. He likely either failed to put the tractor in neutral when he stopped, causing the tractor to lurch forward when he removed his foot from the clutch pedal, or inadvertently moved the gear selector lever out of neutral as he stood up to dismount the tractor. In either scenario, it is assumed that the sudden or unexpected movement of the tractor caused him to fall to the ground between the tractor and the mower. As the tractor continued to move forward, the victim’s upper body was run over by the 1740 lb. mower. He was pronounced dead at the scene.