Accident at work with fertilizer distributors in Austrian agriculture

Robert Kogler, Elisabeth Quendler, Josef Boxberger


Accidents with fertilizer distributors at work happen in the Austrian agriculture every year.  In accordance with Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and the standards ISO 4254-1 and DIN EN 14017, fertilizer distributors undergo a risk assessment before construction and market entry to ensure their complying with these legal recommendations and to eliminate largely the risk of injury for the operators.  To determine the accident scenarios, causes, and technical solutions, a narrative analysis of 14 reports of accidents that led to moderate and serious injuries from 2008 to 2010 was done, eight victims interviewed, and seven accident machines and eight new ones, which were sold in 2013, evaluated according to applicable regulations.  Mostly farm managers were involved in accidents with mineral fertilizer distributors during coupling and uncoupling and filling mainly on the farmyard.  During coupling and uncoupling, farm managers collided with the machine itself, and during filling with the fertilizer chunks of the big bags.  Falls from the machine were caused by slips and missteps during fertilizing, filling, and cleaning tasks.  Farm managers were hit by the machine by coming into contact with the running spreading unit during fertilization and maintenance tasks.  The accident machines showed large and the new machines low permanent deficits in instruction and warning notices as well in constructional execution.  Potential constructive improvements are the standardized provision of instructions and warnings, standard-compliant boarding (ladders, grab rails, platforms, etc.) and loading means (lift arms, platforms) for filling and monitoring the container contents, sufficient space or hydraulic coupling elements for coupling, uncoupling, and unfolding of spreader units, and protective devices for agitators in new machines.  In the case of the accident machines, the optimization is limited to retrofitting with existing auxiliary equipment available from the manufacturers due to the applicable warranty provisions.
Keywords: Agricultural machinery, fertilizer distributors, accident analysis, statistical analysis


Agricultural machinery, fertilizer distributors, accident analysis, statistical analysis

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