NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Outdoor carbon monoxide poisoning attributed to tractor exhaust - Kentucky, 1997.
Struttmann TW; Brandt V; Scheerer A; Leach R
MMWR 1996 Dec; 46(51):1224-1227
This report concerns the death of a 37 year old female farmer in Kentucky resulting from exposure to exhaust from a tractor in an open field. She was admitted to the hospital due to carbon- monoxide (630080) inhalation, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. At one o'clock in the afternoon she and two family members began planting tobacco in a 4.5 acre field. The temperature exceeded 90 degrees F and conditions were humid with minimal breeze. Two workers rode on a two seat tobacco setter, a device in which they ride side by side with their backs to the tractor and set tobacco plants into the ground as the tractor tows the setter at 2 to 3 miles per hour. The victim sat on the side nearest the exhaust pipe which was beneath the tractor and directed exhaust gases toward the setter riders. By 4 PM all three had headaches and the victim reported dizziness and fatigue. At 6:30 PM the victim collapsed on the setter. Examination of the tractor under stationary conditions with the engine running revealed carbon-monoxide levels of an average of 477 parts per million (ppm) during a 15 minute sampling period where someone working on the setter would sit. Tests of four other similar machines produced levels of 38, 364, 507, and 706ppm. Tests on a diesel powered tractor resulted in zero ppm carbon- monoxide. Sampling performed under similar planting conditions produced levels of 384ppm in 15 minutes.
NIOSH-Author; Farmers; Toxic-gases; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis; Heat-exposure; Exhaust-gases; Equipment-operators; Tobacco-industry
Issue of Publication
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Page last reviewed: November 13, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division