A 16-year-old female was killed after the tractor on which she was riding as a passenger overturned. She was a high school student; farmed on evenings and weekends. The tractor was driven by a 20-year-old friend while baling hay on a farm at dusk. The driver and the victim had been baling hay all day, and both were experienced farmers. The victim was seated on the fender to the left of the driver. The tractor was a 1969 tricycle-tired John Deere, which was well maintained but was not equipped with a Roll Over Protective Structure (ROPS) or a seatbelt. The tires were appropriately fluid filled. The driver was reversing the tractor down a slight slope in an open field in order to stab a bale of hay with an attached hayfork. The right rear wheel ran over the hay bale causing the tractor to overturn side-ways on top of the victim and the driver. The driver was pushed clear by one of the tractor’s rotating wheels. The victim was pinned underneath the tractor’s driver seat and died of compression asphyxiation.

In order to prevent similar incidents, the Kentucky FACE investigators recommend that:

  • Individuals should not ride as passengers on an operating tractor, and drivers should not allow extra riders/passengers.
  • Tractor should be equipped with rollover protective structures and seatbelts.
  • Farmers should exercise extra caution using tractors when their ability to see is compromised: e.g. when it is getting dark which may limit visibility, and when operating in reverse.
  • Tractors should be equipped with front-end counterweights.
  • Young farm equipment operators should educate themselves with safety courses and materials, and adhere to recommended operating procedures.

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