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Ranch worker killed by pressurized water striking eye.

Oregon Department of 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 06OR025, 2007 Oct; :1-5
On July 4, 2006, a 42-year-old ranch hand was struck in the eye by a stream of pressurized water from an irrigation line, and died 5 days later. The ranch hand was working alone in a hay field, moving wheeled irrigation equipment. Pumped water reached the fields through 4-inch risers located every 30 feet in the field, connected to a 12 inch mainline underground. Each riser was equipped with a built-in shut-off plate that was opened by a removable valve with a crank handle. Following standard procedure, the ranch hand closed the valve and drained the supply line so the valve could be removed from the riser. When he began to remove the valve, the cap of the riser blew off and pressurized water struck him in the face. He was knocked unconscious and fell face down in a growing pool of water. The ranch manager saw the geyser from the ranch house and drove to the site to investigate. He discovered the ranch hand and pulled him from the pool of water. Emergency responders arrived in about 10 minutes. The victim was transported to a hospital, where he died in intensive care 5 days later. The explosion of water caused a severe penetrating injury of the eye and resulting brain injury. Recommendations: 1. When working with a pressurized irrigation system, stay clear or guard yourself from the outlet path where valves and hoses connect. 2. Components of a pressurized irrigation system should be inspected for defective parts at least annually. 3. Employers should establish an emergency plan for personnel who work alone.
Region-10; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Work-operations; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Work-practices; Equipment-operators; Training; Brain-damage; Eye-damage; Work-practices
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-06OR025; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-021204; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008324; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008472
Priority Area
Services; Wholesale and Retail Trade
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Oregon Department of Human Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division