|Industry: Apple orchard||
Release Date: October 19, 2015
|Task: Operating tractor on roadway||Incident Date: April 11, 2015|
|Occupation: Orchard laborer||Case No.: 15WA01401|
|Type of Incident: Tractor rollover||SHARP Report No.: 71-141-2015|
On April 11, 2015, a 57-year-old orchard laborer was fatally injured when the tractor he was operating rolled over.
The victim was an experienced tractor operator and was a seasonal worker at his employer’s apple orchard. He had spent the morning and early afternoon operating a tractor towing a sprayer to spray several blocks in an apple orchard. The orchard in which he had been working met the Washington State exemption for using a tractor’s rollover protective structure (ROPS) or roll bar in the down or lowered position; this is allowed in orchards when tractor height clearances would interfere with normal operations. The tractor he was operating had been manufactured to have a foldable ROPS, but it did not have one installed, nor did it have a seat belt.
In order to get to another orchard block, he had to travel a mile and a half on a paved county road. He was traveling downhill along this road towing an empty sprayer when he drove the tractor to the right onto the road’s soft, gravel shoulder. He apparently attempted to bring the tractor back onto the road, but overcorrected, causing the tractor to veer into the opposite lane and overturn. He was crushed under the tractor and declared dead at the scene.
An investigation determined that speed may have been a factor. The tractor was in high gear and may have been going between 11 and 15 mph. The incident investigator confirmed that a local tractor dealership had ROPS available for the tractor model involved in the incident. If this tractor had been fitted with ROPS and the operator had been wearing a seat belt, he would have been protected from being crushed under the tractor.
Rollover Protective Structures on agricultural tractors
Seat belts on agricultural tractors
ROPS and seat belts on tractors save lives!
This bulletin was developed to alert employers and employees of a tragic loss of life of a worker in Washington State and is based on preliminary data ONLY and does not represent final determinations regarding the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the fatality.
Developed by Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries. The FACE Program is supported in part by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH grant# 2 U60OH008487-11). For more information, contact the Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, 1-888-667-4277.
Publication #: 15WA01401| October 19, 2015
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More