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Safety 2017, 3(1), 8; doi:10.3390/safety3010008

Injury/Fatality-Causing Incidents Involving the Rearward Movement of Agricultural Machinery: Types, Causes, and Preventive Measures

Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University, 225 South University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dennis Murphy
Received: 25 May 2016 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Safety and Health)
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Abstract

The research reported here sought to more fully understand the types and causative factors of injury/fatality incidents resulting from the rearward-movement of tractors and other self-propelled agricultural machinery, with the view that such findings might lead to the development, improvement, and/or better utilization of safety procedures, design principles, and technologies that would prevent—or at least markedly reduce—their occurrence. Thus, the scope of this study focused only on rearward-travel (not mechanical malfunction) incidents, and principally on agricultural equipment (although cases involving similar equipment in industrial or construction settings were also drawn upon). Applying these two criteria, a search of published and online sources uncovered more than 100 documented cases, 35 of which could clearly be identified as rearward-movement incidents, of which 28 (80%) were fatal. Each of these 35 cases were then assessed, based on the type of machine, type of worksite, and type/description of incident (i.e., ‘scenario’), which fell into one of three distinct categories or classifications—(1) co-worker run over/crushed/otherwise injured because operator loses visual contact with co-worker; (2) bystander run over/crushed/otherwise injured because operator is unaware of bystander’s presence; and (3) operator run over/crushed/otherwise injured because operator loses visual contact with, or is unaware of, a stationary object or a hazard. Then, from each scenario, a representative incident (i.e., case study) was selected for a more in-depth analysis. The collective findings, from these three case studies and all 35 machinery rearward-movement incidents, were as follows: (1) The ‘victim’ could be the machine operator as well as a co-worker or a bystander; (2) The specific site of the co-worker or bystander injury/fatality was at the base of the machine’s rear tires or tracks, at the hitching point, or behind a towed implement; (3) The specific cause was loss of visual contact between the operator and co-worker/bystander due to visual obstruction, the operator’s physical limitations, or the operator’s and/or bystander’s lack of alertness. To reduce the likelihood of future occurrences of agricultural machinery rearward travel-related incidents, preventive measures aimed at addressing the key causative factors for each scenario are offered. View Full-Text
Keywords: blind spot; bystander; backover; detection; case study; machine vision; runover; self-propelled machinery; visibility blind spot; bystander; backover; detection; case study; machine vision; runover; self-propelled machinery; visibility
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ehlers, S.G.; Field, W.E. Injury/Fatality-Causing Incidents Involving the Rearward Movement of Agricultural Machinery: Types, Causes, and Preventive Measures. Safety 2017, 3, 8.

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