A 56-year-old part-time farmer was killed when the tractor he was driving overturned while mowing. Using a rotary mower attached to the John Deere 1520 tractor, the farmer mowed an area near the roadway that had a gradual downward slope. The tractor was not equipped with a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) or seatbelt. After mowing two rows, he made a left turn to begin the third pass when the back tire began to slip in the moist soil underneath the grass. Due to the momentum and weight of the tractor and attachment, the farmer was unable to stop the vehicle. It slid 18 feet toward the edge of a steep 9-foot embankment. The tractor flipped over the edge and landed upside down, pinning the farmer beneath it. An occupant of a car driving by saw the overturned vehicle and went to a nearby house to call for help. Rescue personnel were dispatched to the scene at 1:45 pm and arrived in 15 minutes. Finding no vital signs, the coroner was summoned to the scene to pronounce the victim dead. In order to prevent similar events from occurring, FACE investigators recommend that:

  • Older tractors should be retrofitted with ROPS and seatbelts
  • Prior to beginning work, the area should be assessed for hazards

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