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Farmer dies after he became caught in the rollers of a corn picker.

Minnesota Department of 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 06MN009, 2006 May; :1-5
A 27-year-old male farmer (victim) died after he became caught in a corn picker. He used a tractor and a pull-type corn picker to pick a field of corn. The power-take-off (PTO) driven corn picker was hooked to the tractor's drawbar and a wagon was hooked to the corn picker. One feature of the corn picker was a husking bed that consisted of several pairs of hard rubber rollers. The rollers are similar to the rollers of an old-fashioned clothes wringer and operate on the same principle. As ears of corn pass over the husking rollers, the rollers grasp the husk of the ears of corn and remove the husk from the corn. The victim drove the tractor pulling the corn picker and wagon to a cornfield near his farm place. While he operated the tractor and corn picker, he apparently noticed a problem with the corn picker and stopped the tractors forward movement to investigate. After he stopped the tractor, he dismounted from it. The tractor engine was left running and the power-take-off was not disengaged. He walked to the area between the back of the operating corn picker and the wagon. For unknown reasons he reached into the area near the husking rollers and apparently the sleeve of his coat became caught between two of the rollers. He may have reacted by placing his other hand and arm in the area of the husking rollers which resulted in his other arm also becoming caught in the rollers. The rollers continued to pull his arms into the machine and resulted in his neck and chest being pulled tightly against the frame of the corn picker. A neighbor noticed the tractor and corn picker in the field. He could hear the tractor running but after it remained in the same spot longer than what he considered a normal stop, he walked to the field to investigate. He found the victim caught in the corn picker. He used his cell phone to place a call to emergency personnel. Rescue personnel arrived at the scene shortly after being notified. They pronounced the victim dead at the scene prior to freeing him from the picker. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences, the following guidelines should be followed: 1. Operators should, whenever possible disengage the power-take-off before dismounting from a tractor; 2. Operators should observe and follow all applicable safety precautions when operating PTO-powered equipment; 3. Operators should never reach into any machine while it is running; 4. Operators should turn off the engine and remove the key before dismounting a tractor; and 5. Operators should not wear loose-fitting clothing near operating machines.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Tractors; Farmers; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-processes; Agriculture; Clothing; Equipment-operators; Machine-operators
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-06MN009; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507283
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Minnesota Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division