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22 July 2011 - Safety is Your Responsibility

I normally deliver Farm Safety sermons twice a year, one at planting time and again at harvest time, two very busy times of the year that can lead to fatigue, carelessness and accidents. Yet I am deeply troubled by what is happening this summer, so here comes a third Farm Safety sermon because it is always dangerous on farms and ranches as has been graphically demonstrated to me by phone calls and e-mails I have received during the past month.

About three weeks ago a farmer friend of mine from Ontario, Canada, called to say “Orion, in the last four days we lost three farmers in our community. One in an accident on the road, automobile and farm tractor collision; another one, a farmer who went into a grain bin alone without a safety harness, was sucked in and suffocated before emergency crews could reach him; the third, caught in a power take-off that wasn’t covered and he died of his injuries. Three farmers in our relatively small community lost in four days.”

That was followed a week later by news of a fatal accident in McHenry County, Illinois where I live, about 10 miles from my home. A farmer, well-known in the community was driving his older tractor (without a cab or seat belt) on a state highway and started to make a left turn onto a county highway. At that point, the motorist behind him pulled out to pass, struck the tractor and he was thrown from the tractor and killed.

I know there are times when accidents happen, but look at how these deaths might have been avoided with a covered power take-off, by wearing a safety harness or not going into a grain bin alone, and by the tractor and car driver having a little more patience on the road.

This is a dangerous occupation that seems to be getting more dangerous every year. I can’t urge you strongly enough to think ‘safety’ in everything you do. Before you do something that involves risk, think about it, and think beyond to the impact on your spouse and children if they had to spend the rest of their life without a husband or father.

So make sure that all of your safety equipment is working and used properly, make sure the Slow Moving Vehicle sign is plainly visible on the back of your tractors and equipment; do not use it as a driveway marker on your mail box post! And for heaven’s sake, think safety with everything you do. I just can’t deal with this tragic news anymore.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.