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Farmer killed when large round bale tumbled from forks in loader bucket.

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 07IA081, 2009 Jul; :1-6
Late in 2007, a 60-year-old farmer died while operating his tractor when a large round bale of cornstalks spilled from the forks in the tractor's front-end loader bucket onto him. The loader had been modified by the temporary installation of a 3-point hitch bale fork placed in the tractor's loader bucket. The heel of the bale fork's frame was loosely cradled against the inside curvature of the bucket. The vertical mast of the bale fork's frame was chained at the top center of the loader bucket. The farmer was trying to back up a slight, but slippery, incline with the cylindrical bale cradled endwise between the forks. He experienced loss of traction as the rear drive wheels of the tractor began to spin on the snow-covered ground. He raised the loader to transfer more weight to the rear wheels of the tractor to improve traction. Still unsuccessful, he began to shuttle the tractor forward and backward, shifting the transmission from forward to reverse gear again and again. Each time the tractor's rear wheels lost traction he moved the tractor forward a short distance then tried backing once more. As he stopped going rearward and shifted to go forward, the bale spilled toward the operator's station and onto the farmer. The farmer was working alone at the time of the incident. His wife found him unresponsive, slumped forward and to the left of the tractor operator's seat, with the bale resting on him. Local first responders, police, and ambulance personnel answered the call quickly. The farmer was pronounced dead at the scene. RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Use front-end loader attachments specifically designed and properly installed for the task to be performed. 2. Use tractor-loader combinations capable of performing the task, with wheel base settings and ballast weight as recommended, and carry loads low when moving them. 3. Select storage locations for large round bales so they can be easily and safely accessed and moved when needed.
Region-7; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Motor-vehicles; Equipment-design; Agriculture; Farmers; Tractors; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Agricultural-processes
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-07IA081; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-708674; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008460
Priority Area
Services; Wholesale and Retail Trade
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