In the spring of 1997 an Iowa farmer was killed while using his skid steer loader to move rocks and remove bushes from a fenceline. He had attached a chain from the bucket to a shrub, and after partially pulling out the shrub, he apparently leaned forward out of the loader cage to remove or adjust the chain. It appears he slipped or inadvertently stepped on the right foot pedal, which immediately lowered the lift arms and the bucket, pinning him to the frame of the machine. Another possibility is that while pulling out the shrub, the chain slipped or the shrub gave way, causing the loader to buck up and down, throwing the man forward out of his seat. The machine had a seatbelt, but the man was not using it. He was working alone, out of sight from the farmstead; it was two hours before he was found dead at the scene by a family member. The skid-steer loader was still running when the man was found. The farmer's son, who had occasionally operated the machine, observed that it was having jerky movements during the few weeks prior to the injury, movements that could have been a factor in this fatality. A seat-actuated electro-hydraulic interlock had been by-passed long ago, therefore there was nothing to prevent the bucket from falling if the pedals were moved, even if the operator was not in the seat. The machine was manufactured in 1972. Recommendations based on our investigation are as follows: 1. Owners/operators of skid-steer loaders should not disable or alter factory-installed or retrofitted safety features. 2. Operators of skid-steer loaders should be educated regarding safe use of their machines. 3. Manufacturers should provide reliable mechanisms to prevent the loader bucket from falling unintentionally. 4. Machine operators must keep their equipment in proper working order, to ensure its dependability and safety.
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; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Machine-operation; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture