In April 1996, an Iowa farmer was killed while using a skid-steer loader to move earth along the edge of a field. He was using the front bucket to fill in a small waterway, working along the edge of the freshly plowed field. The right front wheel hit a depression while the left wheel hit a bump, and the machine rolled to the right side in a complete circle, landing upright in a small creekbed, with the victim slouched in the operator's seat. When the machine rolled, it crushed the man's head between the rollover protective structure (ROPS) side frame and the ground. The loader's original ROPS had been replaced with shorter side frames on both sides which provided no protection from the front, top and back of the machine. A local welder had modified the ROPS at the victim's request to accommodate the height of hog buildings where the machine was used (see photo). The farmer was not wearing his seatbelt, so when the machine rolled he was thrown partially up and out of the machine, sufficiently that his head was caught between the side frame and the ground. The victim's wife was an eyewitness to the event, and rushed to help him; however, the man was killed instantly from head injuries. Recommendations following our investigation are: 1. Owner-operators of skid-steer loaders should not modify factory-installed ROPS, nor alter other built-in safety devices. 2. Skid-steer loader operators should use the seatbelt or other alternate built-in restraint system at all times when operating the loader. 3. Owners and operators of skid-steer loaders should be made aware of the dangers related to the use of the machine, including overturn hazard.
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; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Farmers; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Safety-belts