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Farmer dies after becoming entangled in a rotating shaft of a beet lifter.

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 98MN059, 1999 Jan; :1-4
A 20-year-old male farmer (victim) died after he became entangled in a rotating shaft of a beet lifter. On the day of the incident, the victim was harvesting beets in a farm field. The beet lifter was pulled by a farm tractor through the field to harvest beets. While harvesting beets a portion of the beet lifter known as the grab rollers became clogged with dirt. The victim stopped the tractor, disengaged the tractor's power-take-off and dismounted the tractor. Another worker who was in the field with a truck drove to the location to assist in cleaning the dirt from the lifter. They manually removed most of the dirt and then engaged the tractor's power-take-off. After engaging the power-take-off the victim dismounted the tractor while the lifter was operating. He walked to a location along one side of the machine and leaned over a rotating shaft. The rotating shaft had originally been covered by a shield however the shield was not in place at the time of the incident. While the victim leaned over the rotating shaft, his jacket was caught by it and became entangled in the shaft. The coworker climbed onto the tractor and disengaged the tractor's power-take-off. He checked the victim who was unresponsive and then used a two-way radio to notify family members of the incident. They placed a call to emergency personnel before proceeding to the field. Rescue personnel arrived at the scene shortly after being notified and pronounced the victim dead prior to freeing him. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order 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; and 3. 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; Agricultural-workers; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Farmers; Tractors; Clothing; Equipment-operators; Machine-guarding
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-98MN059; 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