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Tractor operator backs into tree branch and is crushed against steering wheel.

Iowa Department of Public 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 98IA058, 1999 Mar; :1-4
During the fall of 1998 a 65-year-old tractor operator was killed when he backed into a tree branch and was pinned between the branch and the tractor's steering wheel. The tractor was a late 50's model equipped with a front-end loader. The man was working for a trucking company which buys and resells corncobs. He was working alone loading corncobs into a grain truck at a private farm location when the injury occurred. The farm owner heard the tractor shut off in a normal fashion, and became concerned when he did not hear other sounds for several minutes. He went to check and found the victim pinned under a low-hanging branch of a pear tree. The man's chest was crushed against the steering wheel and he was obviously dead at the scene. The tractor had been traveling backwards, slightly downhill at the time it hit the tree, and was at a distance from the corn cob pile that was further than necessary for loading. It appears the victim drove too far back while working and ran into the tree branch, however the ignition had been turned off and it remains unclear exactly what happened. The tractor's brakes were checked by the owner of the trucking company and were found to be normal, in forward and reverse directions. Other controls on the tractor were also working properly. There was no ROPS on the tractor. Recommendations based on our investigation are as follows: 1. All tractors should have a rollover protective structure (ROPS). 2. A careful site assessment should be conducted to determine the best locations for material piles, trucks and loaders.
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; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Tractors; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-processes; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-98IA058; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-708674
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Iowa Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division