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Farmer dies when tractor with front-end loader overturns in ditch and pins him.

Michigan State University
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 03MI103, 2004 Oct; :1-7
On July 28, 2003, a 77-year-old male farmer was driving a 1954 77 Oliver tractor equipped with a front-end loader with 12-inch bucket tines to a woodlot on his property. He was carrying a salvage flail mower chained to the loader. The tractor was not equipped with a roll-over protection structure (ROPS). He traveled east along a lane between his cornfields to the back of his property and made a right turn (south) around a 10-foot deep by 15-foot wide drainage ditch. There was a variable width path to the wood area on the east side of the ditch (See Figure 1). It appears that after he turned the corner and was on the path to the woodlot, he tried to avoid damaging a field of planted corn with the flail chopper. In trying to avoid the corn, he got too close to the drainage ditch and the tractor overturned to the side, landing on top of him. When he did not return home, his wife went looking for him and saw the overturned tractor. She called a family member who called 911. Emergency response arrived and the victim was declared dead at the scene. Recommendations: 1. Use equipment properly - a front-end loader bucket isn't designed to carry a flail chopper. 2. Equip older tractors with a roll-over protection structure (ROPS) and a seat belt; the local county extension agent, local equipment dealer or equipment manufacturer should be contacted to see if a retro-fit ROPS/seat belt system is available. 3. Utilize open fields after crop harvest to access areas without established paths/roadways that have adequate width and distance from the edge of a ditch. 4. Establish crop-planting limits/boundaries to maintain farm machine access roads to other fields/areas. 5. When mowing or planting, leave a visual cue to identify the edge of drainage ditches or other land depressions.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-5; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards; Farmers; Tractors; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-03MI103; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-521205
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division