NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Operator of three-wheeled agricultural sprayer was killed when machine overturned.

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 99IA010, 1999 Oct; :1-4
During the spring of 1999, a 26-year-old operator of a three-wheeled agricultural boom sprayer was killed when the sprayer drove through a barbed wire fence and careened down a steep ravine, rolling over at the bottom. The victim had just finished spraying a small 5-7 acre field with bean herbicide and was folding in the hydraulically-controlled spraying booms when the machine apparently moved forward too far and rolled through a barbed wire fence. There were no apparent skid marks from braking. The ravine on the other side of the fence was quite steep and it would have been difficult to stop the machine once the front wheel broke through the fence. While running down the slope, the left rear tire of the sprayer hit a small tree, causing the machine to swing to the left, then crash on its side and top in the gully. The cab was not designed as a Roll Over Protective Structure (ROPS), nor were seat belts installed in this machine. Therefore there was little protection for the driver when the machine overturned. The operator was thrown through the front window and fatally crushed as the cab crumbled under the weight of the sprayer. The machine was 20 years old and appeared to be in good working order. There was some indication that the parking brake was not operational. We requested a test to determine whether the brakes were in working order, however the machine shop where the machine was taken after the crash was not able to have this testing done. The victim was an experienced sprayer operator. The injury occurred about 5:30 p.m. towards the end of the workday and fatigue may be a contributing factor. The death was not discovered until an hour later when the victim failed to show up at another work location. He was found dead at the scene. Recommendations based on our investigation are as follows: 1. Self-propelled agricultural boom sprayers should be equipped with Roll Over Protective Structures (ROPS) and seatbelts. 2. Agricultural chemical applicator training should include specific instructions regarding spraying irregularly-shaped fields. 3. Owners and operators of agricultural equipment must ensure that the machines are in good mechanical condition and that safe operating procedures are followed.
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; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Machine-operation; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability
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-99IA010; 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