Midsummer 2004 a 52-year-old owner-operator of a metalworking shop was killed in the shop on his rural residential farm site. He was crushed between the front frame of his skid steer loader and the back of the forklift attachment mounted to the machine's lift arms. The machine was being repaired, and the loader's seat, battery cover, and battery were removed from the floor of the operator's station. Hand operated controls had been disconnected from their control rod linkages, which connect them to the valves that govern hydraulic flow to the power lift arms, forklift, and skid steer movement. The lift arms, with mounted forklift attachment, were partially or fully raised. The tall repairman was in the zone bounded by the frame across the lower front of the skid steer loader, the back frame of the raised forklift attachment, and the lift arms extending forward along each side of the protective metal structure around the operator's station. He was leaning forward into the operator's station to accomplish his repair tasks. The repairman was working alone inside his shop in the middle of the afternoon. A customer had stopped by sometime after noon with additional work to be performed, and planned to return in an hour and a half. Upon returning to the shop, the customer discovered the repairman pinned against the front of the skid steer frame by the back of the forklift attachment, which was now resting near the ground. The repairman, nearly to his knees on the dirt floor, was found facing into the operator's station with his head tilted outward near the left lift arm. The customer ran to the repairman's residence adjacent to the shop to summon Emergency Medical Services. He returned and placed a floor jack under the forklift attachment in an attempt to extricate the repairman, who was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene. Actuation of the control linkage allowing the lift arms to lower is the key contributing factor in this unwitnessed incident. Recommendations based on our investigation are as follows: 1. Skid steer loader operators should lower lift arms to the ground before exiting the operator's station. Operator's and those repairing skid steer loaders should always use lift arm locking mechanisms provided by the manufacturer and ensure that they perform properly before exiting or working under any portion of the raised lift arms of the loaders. 2. Operators and repair personnel should be educated and trained to recognize, assess, and act to avoid the risks of lift arm movement during skid steer loader operation, maintenance, and repair. 3. Skid steer loader manufacturers should consider means to prevent lift arm lowering when the control to lower lift arms is actuated and the skid steer's engine is not running. 4. Means to secure skid steer loader lift arms such as capable blocks, jacks, and hoists, which prevent unintended movement of lift arms during repairs performed with the lift arms in a raised position, should be employed prior to performing such repair tasks.
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; Machine-operation; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture