NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Hired farm worker dies after being crushed by a stalk chopper.

Minnesota Department of Health
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 95MN006, 1995 Jul; :1-7
A 34-year-old male hired farm worker (victim) died from injuries sustained when a stalk chopper he was working on fell. The chopper was hooked to a farm tractor and parked in a farm yard. A removable hydraulic cylinder had been improperly installed in the chopper and was used to raise the front of the chopper. The victim crawled underneath the raised chopper to lubricate several bearings. A concrete block had been placed on the ground below each end of the chopper frame but not in contact with it. The chopper was not equipped with a mechanical transport link to securely lock it in a raised position. While the victim was underneath the chopper, a damaged hydraulic cylinder hose ruptured and the chopper fell on him. The farm owner discovered the victim shortly after the incident occurred. He got onto the tractor, started the engine and raised the chopper by activating the hydraulic system. The farmer's wife pulled the victim from beneath the raised chopper and cardiopulmonary resuscitation was administered. Emergency medical personnel were called to the scene and transported the victim to a local hospital. He was airlifted to a major medical center where he died several hours after the incident. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. all raised equipment should be adequately blocked if workers are required to crawl underneath the raised unit; 2. removable hydraulic cylinders should be properly installed; 3. transport links, if present, should be coupled together before working underneath raised equipment; and 4. farm equipment manufacturers should produce removable hydraulic cylinders and 5. equipment lift mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of improper installation.
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; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture
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-95MN006; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507283
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Minnesota Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division