A 73-year-old male farmer (victim) died of injuries he sustained after he was struck by a large rock that fell from a loader. On the day of the incident, the victim used a farm tractor equipped with a front-end loader to remove a large rock from a farm field. The front-end loader was equipped with a hydraulically controlled general purpose bucket. The loader's hydraulic control levers did not always operate smoothly but would sometimes stick and cause either the loader to continue to rise or the bucket to continue to tilt until the operator was able to move the levers to their neutral position. The victim drove the tractor toward a rock that was on the surface of an unplanted farm field, lowered the loader to the ground and scooped the rock into the bucket. After the rock was in the bucket of the loader, the victim apparently raised the loader. After raising the loader the hydraulic control lever for either the loader or the bucket apparently stuck. This caused the rock to eventually fall backward out of the bucket and tumble down the loader lift arms. The rock struck the victim and pinned him in the seat of the tractor. He victim was not able to free himself from the rock and was found later in the afternoon by his wife who went to the field to look for him. She returned to the farm house and placed a call to emergency personnel who arrived at the scene shortly after being notified. They removed the rock from the victim and transported him to a local hospital. He was then transported to a major medical facility where he died several hours later. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. all items, such as equipment, machines, construction material, rocks, etc., hauled in loader buckets should be tied or chained securely to the bucket; 2. tractors equipped with loaders should also be equipped with an enclosed rollover protective structure or a general purpose cab; 3. while in motion, tractors with loaders should be operated with the loader in the lowest possible position; and 4. all equipment should be adequately maintained and serviced to keep it in safe and proper operating condition.
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-machinery; Agriculture; Farmers; Tractors; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability