Tractor Manufacturer Fails to Warn of Danger During Maintenance Procedure


Warnings Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Nebraska and involves an incident in which a piece of farming equipment electrocuted its owner while he was attempting to make repairs. The tractor was fairly new and had been maintained per the manufacturer’s recommendations for the duration of its use. One on occasion, the tractor broke down while being used to plant fresh crops on the farm. The farmer, who had an extensive working knowledge of tractors and farm equipment repairs, attempted to fix the machine himself. After returning the machine to a large garage on his property, the farmer began disassembling the tractor motor in order to access components that he believed were the cause of the issue. Suddenly and without warning, the man was injured by a powerful electric shock, resulting in serious burns to his arms. It is claimed that the tractor manufacturer should have been aware of the risk of electrical shock when attempting this particular repair, and that they failed to provide adequate warning to customers. An expert in equipment appraisal was sought to opine for this issue.

 

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with this type of equipment?
  • 2. Do you have farm equipment engineering/design experience? Do you have mechanical structure analysis experience?
  • 3. Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If so, please explain.
  • 4. Please briefly describe why you believe you would be a good fit on this case.

Expert Witness Response E-029741

I am familiar with farm equipment generally, with a specific focus on tractors. I have extensive experience regarding the safety of tractor and off-road vehicles regarding rollover protection. I also have experience in farm safety generally. I grew up on a farm and have a degree in agricultural engineering. The warnings should be included in the safety manual and on the machine, visible near the potential hazard. I have reviewed two cases that involved hydraulic and electrical systems. One was on a similar tractor, and the other was a coal mine roof bolting machine. Both were settled. One case resulted in an electrocution, and the other a crushing injury. These injuries occurred because of the hydraulic system lacked a diverter valve, which would keep one part of the machine from moving while another part was being controlled.

Expert Witness Response E-029194

Expert-ID: E-029194

I am familiar with the type of equipment involved in this case. I have been part of the design team for a walk behind piece of equipment, and I have taken and taught several courses related to their design and safety. The best sources on the topic of warnings for this case would be the following standards: ANSI/ASAE S318.17 JUN2009 – Safety for Agricultural Field Equipment ANSI/ASAE S354.5 JAN2006 (R2011) – Safety for Farmstead Equipment ANSI/ASABE AD11684:1995 (APR2011) – Tractors, machinery for agricultural and forestry, powered lawn and garden equipment Safety signs and hazard pictorials General principles

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