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Farmer dies after being crushed beneath the header of a combine.

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 01MN054, 2001 Feb; :1-3
A 49-year-old male farmer (victim) died after he was crushed beneath the header of a combine. The combine was equipped with hydraulic cylinders to raise and lower the header. The front of the combine was equipped with a quick-connect coupling mechanism that enabled an operator to easily change from one header to another. It was also equipped with locking mechanisms which could be manually set to lock the header in place. Tire tracks near a storage building indicated that the victim drove the combine from the building to an outside location where the header was setting. He drove the combine up to the header and activated the hydraulic cylinders to attach and raise the header. He then drove the combine back inside the storage building to complete the attachment of the header. Before leaving the cab of the combine, he apparently left the header in a raised position. After dismounting from the combine cab he began to work on something that required him to crawl underneath the raised header. After he crawled under the header, it fell from the combine and he was pinned beneath it. A truck driver arrived at the victim's farm with a load of feed. He stopped the truck near the storage building and started an auger to unloaded the feed. While the feed was being unloaded, the truck driver entered the storage building and found the victim under the header. He ran to the nearby farm house and notified the victim's son. The son placed a call to emergency personnel and then went to the storage building with the truck driver. They used a tractor that was equipped with a front-end loader to lift one end of the header. As they began to lift the header, rescue personnel arrived at the scene. After the victim was freed, rescue personnel checked him for vital signs but did not find any. A county coroner arrived a short time later and pronounced the victim dead. MN FACE investigators concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. all raised equipment should be blocked if workers are required to crawl underneath it; and 2. all equipment locking devices should be properly set before the equipment is used.
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; Equipment-operators; Farmers
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
FACE-01MN054; 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