An 82-year-old male farmer (victim) died from severe burn injuries after he caught on fire as he was removing the sediment bowl housing from a tractor. It was approximately 4:30 p.m., and he was alone at the time of the incident. The gasoline powered tractor began missing as it was used to move large round hay bales. To alleviate the problem, the victim stopped the tractor, dismounted, and removed the tractor's glass sediment bowl for cleaning. Gasoline spilled onto the tractor, ground, and victim when he removed the bowl. The starter and battery cable connection was located about five inches below the bowl. He had not, as was his usual procedure during bowl cleaning, disconnected the battery cable. As he used a wrench to remove the bowl's housing, it contacted the battery cable at the point where it was connected to the starter, sparked, and he and the tractor caught on fire. He attempted to extinguish himself with water inside his home but, perhaps realizing the house was beginning to burn, was found by first responders exiting it with his hands and boots on fire. He suffered second and third degree burns over approximately 50 percent of his body and died five days after the incident. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to minimize the occurrence of similar incidents, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. disconnect tractor battery cables before performing maintenance near them, especially when gasoline or other flammable substances are in proximity and capable of igniting in the event of sparking; and 2. place protective rubber boots over battery cable connections to eliminate the possibility of sparking on impact with tools during routine maintenance.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Farmers; Tractors; Fire-hazards; Fire-safety; Burns; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers