In October 1997, a 57-year-old male farmer was critically injured when he became trapped in a hay baler that was on fire. He died two days later from burn-related injuries. The farmer was working alone baling dried love grass that was to be used for cattle feed. Evidence suggests that twine and hay were caught in the roller. The friction produced between the twine, hay, and the spinning roller produced sufficient heat to ignite the twine and hay. The farmer apparently turned the tractor and hay baler out of the hay row, dismounted the running tractor, and tried to pat the fire out with his hands. The power take-off device (PTO) was not disengaged. The farmer crawled under the hay baler to reach the fire. His fingers became entrapped in a roller and the fire spread, burning the farmer and five acres of the hayfield. The farmer's left hand was traumatically amputated, and he was able to free himself from the hay baler. He walked approximately one mile to his pickup truck and then drove to five residences before he was able to find someone at home to call for help. The farmer was taken to the local hospital and was subsequently flown by air ambulance to a burn center. He died two days later. FACE investigators concluded that to prevent similar occurrences, employers (including persons who are self-employed) should: ensure that safe work practices are followed, including disengaging the PTO and shutting off the engine, prior to working on agricultural machinery; 1. ensure that multipurpose fire extinguishers having an A-B-C rating are mounted on agricultural machinery; 2. provide workers who work alone with a means of remote communication for use in cases of emergency; and 3. ensure that machinery is maintained according to manufacturer's specifications, including removal of excess hay, twine, grease, etc. on a regular basis.
Region-6; 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; Equipment-reliability; Farmers; Tractors; Burns; Fire-hazards; Fire-safety