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Farmer dies after becoming entangled in the rotating drive mechanism of a baler.

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 96MN076, 1997 Feb; :1-5
A 47-year-old farmer (victim) died of injuries he sustained when he became entangled in a rotating baler shaft. He used a farm tractor and a large round baler to bale corn stalks in a harvested field. The baler had a pickup mechanism and a series of steel rollers that produced the bales. The pickup mechanism and the steel rollers were driven by an unshielded horizontal shaft that extended from a gear box in the center of the baler. The victim had produced two bales and was producing another bale when the pickup mechanism became clogged with stalks. The victim stopped the tractor and dismounted from it. The tractor engine was left running and the power-take-off was not disengaged. The victim walked to the area between the tractor and the baler and apparently tried to clear the clogged stalks. While in the area of the horizontal shaft that extended from the gear box, his clothing became entangled in the rotating shaft. One of his sons became concerned about his father's absence approximately ninety minutes after he arrived home from school. While he searched for his father, he noticed the tractor and baler in the corn field. He rode his bicycle into the field and discovered his father entangled in the baler. He climbed into the tractor cab and stopped the tractor's engine. He rode his bicycle home and placed a call to emergency medical personnel. Rescue personnel arrived at the scene shortly after being notified. They pronounced the victim dead at the scene prior to freeing him from the baler. MN FACE investigators concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. operators should disengage the power-take-off before dismounting from a tractor; 2. all equipment shields and guards should be kept in good condition and in place; 3. operators should turn off the engine and remove the key before dismounting a tractor; and 4. operators should not wear loose-fitting clothing near operating machines.
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; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Tractors; Equipment-operators; Clothing
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-96MN076; 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