Man killed loading lawn mower

corvetteguyAugust 27, 2009

I heard on the news yesterday that an

82 year old man was killed when one

ramp gave way while he was unloading

a lawn tractor from a pick up.

I guess I will have to figure a way

to secure the end of the ramps on the

tailgate to prevent this from occurring.

Since I only infrequently do this I admit

I am lax in taking this safety precaution.

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bill7(NW MN)

I made my ramps out of 2X10's. After the first attempt at loading, I realized the same thing. I bolted angle iron to the 2X10's and to the trailer, in a way the two can hook on to each other. I worry about the a 2X10 cracking.

Reminds us all that things happen.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:21AM
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ggoyeneche

Be sure to share this with Kompressor. Did the old guy defeat any safeties on the ramps?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:27AM
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kompressor

Wow.... a bona fide comedian. Tell me. Do you have to wear casters on your hands to keep your knuckles from getting raw as they drag along the ground?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:59AM
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windcatcher

"Do you have to wear casters on your hands to keep your knuckles from getting raw as they drag along the ground?"

So much for my cup of coffee this morning. Now, where's the clean up towel for my monitor?

But seriously folks (A little Joe Walsh thrown in there), this can happen to anyone.

I've had ramps move on me when I was loading a lawnmower in the bed of a truck. Just goes to show we all need to be more careful.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 9:09AM
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metal(6)

One thing that can happen is if you have a light weight truck (spring/coil wise) when the weight of the tractor comes off the truck and onto the ramps the truck will raise up, which pulls it up and away from the ramps. The ramps can also be shoved into the ground a bit if parked on a soft surface which effectively shortens them as well. I am surprised we don't hear of more of this type of accident myself.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 9:26AM
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wheelhorse_of_course(7)

Good reminder.

The one thing I was surprised to learn is the the preferred method is back on, drive off.

This way if you pop the clutch loading, or hit the brakes unloading, you do not push the ramps away from the truck.

When I build the deck for my future hauler I am going to put holes through the ramps and into the deck. I can then drop a carriage bolt in as a pin and make everything more stable.

cheers

Rolf

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 10:01AM
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canguy(British Columbia)

I have had the ramps spit out as the front wheels moved on to the trailer deck. When I woke up, I was on my back still on the seat. I was very fortunate the machine did not roll on me. Secure those ramps people and 2" lumber is NOT adequate.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 10:23AM
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drafted72(Chicago)

This happened to me once. I was so stupid and lucky I did not get killed.

I was using a large piece of steel as a ramp up to my full size pickup bed. I was loading a old JD214 which is a very heavy tractor. Well as I almost got to the top and stopped and popped the clutch to start going again, and the ramp pulled away from the bed and fell to the ground. I fell backwards off of the tractor onto the ground. The tractor bounced backwards on to the rear wheels and the jump up into the air. Afterward bouncing up, the tractor started to fall back to where I was lying. I rolled over just enough to only get hit a little. The tractor landed upside down.

I was so stupid. I later went out and purchase a trailer with a fold down ramp. I has been the best purchase I have ever made. I would tell everyone to never use a ramp on to a pick up bed for any reasons, no matter how good they are.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 10:44AM
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johninmd

i made a set of ramps for son n law for loading a 4x4 fourwheeler. Using steel grating about a foot wide and 1 1/2 inches thick.
the top edge that lays on tailgate has a full width piece of 1/4" steel plate, that extends onto tail gate 6" each plate has a 1/2" diameter peg welded on bottom, extending 1 1/2". that fits into a drilled hole in the tailgate. They positively will not move when loading. Now i know a lot wouldnt want to drill their nice trucks tailgate, but i say to those people, if you like a hospital stay, broken bones, and maybe death better than 2 holes in inside of tailgate, have fun...

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 11:12AM
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baymee(LehighValleyPA)

Steel is nice, but if you need a custom width and length, you could create a torsion box. This could be made from 1/4" plywood on both surfaces and in between 3/4 X 3/4 strips. The strips go the full length and then crosswise every 6-8". Glue and preferably screw the assy. together. Should hold the weight of a car. Total thickness about 1 1/4"

I've used these alot to create a very long span not needing center supports and relatively thin for appearance.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 11:38AM
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mownie(7)

I have made ramp boards and scaffold boards using a technique depicted in the image below. If the intended purpose of the assembled boards is for scaffolding, the top plane (walking surface) needs to be flat and level, and the underside "strong back" accomplishes that while providing good strengthening of the board over a long span without anything protruding into the walking surface.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 12:19PM
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bill7(NW MN)

"Secure those ramps people and 2" lumber is NOT adequate."

What if I get some angle iron for one or both sides of the 2X10's? The back of my trailer is only 1 1/2 feet off the ground, 2 feet max. I like the way it is because I made it so the width of the ramp is adjustable, and it is easy to throw the 2X10's in the trailer, whether it is loaded or not.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 4:21PM
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rdaystrom

kompressor, Do you,ever make a straight, normal, non condescending comment. The guy was just asking if "you" the so called safety conscious guy had been alerted to a real issue brought to the forefront by this posting.
Anyway...the real issue for most lawn tractor pickup bed ramp problems is that the deck is so low that it pushes the ramp off the tailgate when the operator attempts to back the mower off. Instant disaster. Most ramps are strong enough by far to hold a mowers weight. The problem is that they are not secured to the tailgate. What ever method you use just be sure to secure it where the ramp cannot slide back off the tailgate or you may get killed or seriously injured in a cascading accident you cannot jump off of.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 5:36PM
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kompressor

rdaystrom,
As you know, posts can often be taken more than one way. Considering the flack I took on the other thread, I immediately concluded that this was just another shot across my bow. Now, if you are right then I am dead wrong concerning his intent. IF so, then ggoyeneche has my most humble written and very public apology for what I wrote.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 6:31PM
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tomplum

Attach cables to the end of the ramp and hook them to the truck or mounted bar to secure the ramp from skating out. A piece of flat steel bar mounted up on the inside lower part of the tailgate or trailer bed will allow you to vary the width of the ramps if you haul different things, such as a tractor , snow thrower, walk behind. That being said, be sure those tailgate straps are up for the job for you and what you are loading.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:51PM
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rdaystrom

OK, No big deal. Well anyway this is an important post. I have personal experience with a big green and yellow Yardman tractor hanging over me after the ramp got kicked out by the deck as I backed out of my pickup truck. The Yardman hung up on the tailgate pointed straight up and I was right under it scrambling to get away. It never fell. My brother and I maneuvered it back into the truck after I got up. The only difference between me and the guy that got killed is mine hung up by some stroke of luck and didn't fall. Needless to say I secure ramps before backing. Actually last time I just rolled the mower down the ramp without me on it.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:59PM
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baymee(LehighValleyPA)

One of my customers, age 80, has a 30" Honda riding mower. I went to pick it up with my Ford van, which has a sofa bed in the back, so the width for this rider was close to the available width in the van. I opened the doors, loosely set a piece of 3/4" plywood on the bumper down to the street, and was getting my come-along ready to pull this rider into the van.

Around the corner comes the owner, he sees the steeply angled ramp, and drives right up into the van before I could say a word. He got hung up on the deck, leaned back on the seat until the wheels hit the plywood, and shot into the van. He turned it off and climbs off, while I stood there with my mouth agape. It happened in less than 5 seconds.

I said, why did you do that? I was going to use the come-along. He said he always did that with the other guy's truck.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 6:33AM
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kompressor

I certainly agree that this thread is an important one. However, I spent about 15 minutes last night using Google to try and find more information about this news story and came up dry. One would think that a somewhat bizarre accident like this would find its way onto the internet by now. Anyone else have any luck in locating it?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 7:19AM
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metal(6)

This took me about 30 seconds to find on Google:

Here is a link that might be useful: Article

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 9:49AM
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rustyj14(W/PA)

I had the good fortune to be at the local scrap yard, when i spotted a stack of aluminum bleacher seats, which were turned in as scrap! They are 8 foot long, and have a center rib! I ground out the center web where one end goes onto the tailgate, and reinforced that area with another piece of alum diamond plate.
Then i drilled two holes in one end of each piece, and drilled matching holes in the tail gate. I inserted 3 inch carriage bolts, with nuts, in each hole, and when i use the ramps, those bolts fit nicely in the gate. I haven't had one drop off the gate!
To use the ramps to put a tractor onto another truck, i turn the ramps around and stomp the bolts into the grass, with the other ends on the gate, or truck bed.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 6:08PM
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rdaystrom

Stomping them into the grass can still come out when a heavy lawn tractor deck hits it in reverse. Secure it to the truck only where it absolutely cannot come out.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 9:35PM
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kompressor

metal,
I tried several different searches using "Pennsylvania, unloading tractor, 82 year old man" etc etc and got nothing. Glad to see you found something. Unfortunately, that report doesn't explain much. Saying the ramp failed leaves much to the imagination. No clue as to whether he was driving the tractor off or ?????

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 11:00PM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

a guy posted about this on MTF. the man who died was his good friend and neighbor.

i rarely use my ramps anymore since i got a trailer. but when i do use them, i hook the safety straps up. i used to just lay them up there and drive my 4 wheeler up into my truck. that was until they shot out from under it and if the skid plate had not hung up the 4 wheeler would have flipped over backwards on me.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 12:36PM
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marineguy

There are steel end kits available to make a perfectly safe set of ramps out of 2x12s. I have some similar to these which I use to load my tractor into my 5x8 enclosed trailer, which has barn doors. It's only a foot off the ground, so it's not quite as critical as unloading from a pickup truck, but I have used these 6' ramps to transport my tractor in my friend's pickup. Mine overlap the bed with about 6" of 1/4" steel, so it would be pretty tough to kick them out. Plus they don't stick up above the surface, so you won't catch them with the deck or anything else.
Oh, and my tractor is a Deere GT225 with filled 23" tires and my 210lb butt on the seat, and the boards support us just fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: northern tool ramp kit

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 4:21PM
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