A 21-year-old male was killed when he and his 19-year-old brother were engaged in logging activities their grandparents' farmland. They both had grown up helping with the family farm and for the last two years their primary source of income was cutting trees on the land to sell for firewood. After cutting down the trees, the normal routine was for the younger brother to operate the tractor to pull the trees to a clearing where they would be cut into pieces. Although the victim had experience operating tractors, he had never performed that particular task. Because there was no drawbar on the 1950 Massey Ferguson (model 30) tractor they used to pull the trees, they hitched a chain at a higher point than is recommended. After working for about 30 minutes, the two brothers got into a small argument. The victim stated that he also wanted to perform the task of hauling the trees to the clearing and got onto the tractor to pull a log which had been secured with the tow chain. Nearly immediately the tractor reared backwards and flipped over onto its side, trapping the victim underneath the steering wheel and fender. The tractor was not equipped with a rollover protective structure (ROPS). The younger brother witnessed the incident and ran to the grandparents' house and called 911 then drove another tractor back to the site and pulled the tractor off his brother's body. By this time rescue squads arrived but the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
In order to prevent similar events from occurring, FACE investigators recommend:
- tractors should be equipped with a rollover protective structure (ROPS) and seatbelt
- hitching points on the tractor for tow chains should be carefully selected
- obtain training or instruction from experienced workers before performing new tasks
Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, "Farmer Killed on Tractor during Logging Operations" (1997). Fatality Case Reports--Tractors/Logging. 15.