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Dairy farmer dies following a tractor rollover while trying to roll-start tractor in West Virginia.

West Virginia Department of Health & Human Services
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 02WV002, 2002 Jun; :1-5
On January 8, 2002, a 44-year-old male dairy farmer (victim) died of injuries sustained when the tractor he was trying to roll-start turned over and pinned him to the ground. The victim was trying to start a 23-year-old wide front-end configured tractor. The tractor's electrical system was in a state of disrepair and therefore this method of starting had been used for the past 2 years. The victim mounted the tractor and began rolling down a snow-covered farm road which traversed a hillside. As the tractor began to roll, a bump, rut, or snow-related irregularity caught one of the front wheels and canted the front end to the right in a downhill direction. The victim was unable to correct the unexpected change in direction because the tractor had not yet started and therefore the hydraulically-controlled steering system was not functioning. The tractor left the road and began rolling down the hillside. As the tractor approached another snow covered-road approximately 75 feet below the first, the victim was able to start the tractor. He pulled onto the second road while in a sliding left hand turn. The right front and right rear wheels dropped off the embankment below the second road causing the tractor to rollover sideways, landing on the victim and pinning him to the ground. The tractor did not have a rollover protective structure (ROPS) or a seat belt. The victim's employee, who was helping with the starting operation, witnessed the incident. He ran to the victim's aid and tried to free him. Unable to free him, he called 911. EMS arrived and found no signs of life. The tractor was removed from the victim and he was pronounced dead. The coroner estimated that the victim had died immediately after tractor impact. The WV FACE investigator concluded that to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed by tractor owners: 1. Equip all tractors with rollover protective structures and a seat belt. 2. Maintain tractors in serviceable condition.
Region-3; 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; Safety-belts; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Farmers; Tractors; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
FACE-02WV002; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-312914
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
West Virginia Department of Health & Human Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division