KIMT News 3 – As many farmers may know, handling heavy machinery is just half the battle they fight every day on the job. The other half is just staying safe.
Just this week alone we’ve seen a number of accidents involving farm equipment tipping over and harming those operating them.
Late last week a man died in Dodge Center. He was found under hay equipment and just yesterday a central Iowa teen died in a tractor accident when he drifted into a ditch and rolled over.
One local farmer tells us that while there are more guards available at key spots, everyone should recognize how powerful these machines can be.
“We kind of pass the safety deal, and kind of think it’s not going to happen to us, but it does,” said Gary Sturges a local farmer from Rockwell.
Since Gary was 12 years old, he has operated heavy machinery of all kinds in the field. Experience, he says is valuable when it comes to respecting the sheer size of the equipment.
“You see more rollovers. Guys are mowing ditches more often. The tractor can get top-heavy being on an angle in the ditch. They may not be paying attention going down the road and if one of the tires comes off the edge of a gravel road,” said Sturges.
Gary remembers the day of riding tractors without the use of rollover protective structures.
Today he owns a much newer model which helps to reduce injuries related to rollovers by 90 percent, but even with added protection, tractors still pose one major issue.
“These things with as wide of a stance as they got nowadays, they can be tough near the ditch. So it can become fatal. You need to be well aware of where you are at all the times in the road and with oncoming traffic behind you,” said Sales Associate, Tim Lodin with Brakke Implement.
“We’re always in a hurry. Everybody’s in a hurry in life, but you just have to be careful,” said Sturges.
Tractor rollovers are the leading cause of death for farmers in the field, according to a University of Kentucky study.
80 percent of tractor-related deaths happen when an experienced driver is behind the wheel.