On February 7, 1995, a 37 year old male farmer died while cleaning a skid-steer loader. On this machine the left foot pedal is used to raise and lower the loader arms, and the right pedal controls the bucket tilt. The pedals of this machine were seized up with frozen manure, snow, and ice, and the victim was attempting to free up these pedals. It was a cold and windy day, and the victim was in a hurry. At the time of the accident the skid-loader bucket was in the "up" position, jammed up against the door frame of an old garage used for storage of the machine. Mechanical lift arm safety stops are included with this machine, but require the lift arms to be in the full "UP" position. While working in front of the machine in a low crouched position, the victim apparently loosened the left pedal enough to allow the bucket to fall on him, pinning him between the bucket and the machine. The machine is equipped with a hydraulic lever interlock, which is connected to the safety belt. When the safety belt is not worn, the bucket and lift arm controls cannot be moved. This feature had been disabled by the victim. Rescue efforts by the victim's wife and another employee were delayed because the pedals were still frozen and inoperable. Mechanical lifting by the fire department using the Jaws of Life was required to raise the bucket sufficiently to provide access to the victim. Recommendations following our investigation were as follows: 1. Operators of skid-steer loaders should be made aware of the dangerous condition created by disabling machine's safety devices. 2. Manufacturers should provide at least three mechanisms to prevent the loader from falling unintentionally on the operator. 3. Operators of skid-steer loaders should always secure the loader by mechanical means whenever working under the bucket. 4. Equipment should have a proper place of storage that allows for safe maintenance and cleaning. 5. Manufacturers should design equipment and controls to function in wet, muddy, or cold conditions when these conditions are frequently encountered in normal operation.
Region-7; 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-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Equipment-reliability; Equipment-design