A 66-year-old male (the victim) was killed while mowing his farm land. He was driving a Case tractor model 1212 with a front-end loader and 4-foot rotary mower attachments. The tractor had a homemade canopy attached for sun protection but it was not intended to function as a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS). Tracks in the field show that he had made several passes and had likely worked for about three hours when the incident occurred. It was about 1 p.m. when he began mowing along the edge of the woods that bordered the field. Although the field was relatively flat, the ground sloped slightly upward along a line of trees. As he drove along the tree line, the right rear tire fell in a sink hole causing the tractor to become unbalanced while on the incline. Marks in the grass show the tractor moved forward a few feet then flipped over and landed upside down. When he did not come home that evening, his wife called the sheriff’s department and a search party was sent out at 1 a.m. The rescue squad found him about 4 a.m., crushed under the tractor. The county coroner was called and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene. In order to prevent similar events from occurring, FACE investigators recommend that:

  • Older model tractors should be equipped with a Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) and seatbelt.
  • Front-end loaders should be kept in as low a position as possible; when lifted, they change the balance and handling properties of the tractor.
  • Tractor operators should consider removing unnecessary attachments from the vehicle.

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