By TIM THORNBERRY
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There will be plenty of exhibits to go through at the National Farm Machinery Show (NFMS); 850, to be exact.
One of the more popular is the farm safety demonstration provided by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA).
Dale Dobson, KDA Home Safety Program administrator, will be making his annual trip to the NFMS to man the exhibit. In the past he has brought the rollover tractor demonstrator, but this year he promises something new.
“I’m going to let the rollover tractor rest this year, and one of the main things I’m bringing is a new PTO (power takeoff) safety display – and it is the only one like it in the country,” he said.
The demonstrator was built by the Alamo Group in Texas, a world leader in agriculture equipment. Dobson said he worked with Alamo representatives last year at the NFMS when the idea of the PTO teaching tool came up. He said he wanted something real and controllable, and not a tabletop model.
The Alamo people were able to come up with a design including the use of a real four-foot Bush Hog. Dobson said it is a real shaft that spins but he has complete control of the device, and works with mannequins and clothes in showing people how one can get wrapped up in a PTO shaft.
His display should be well received, since all farmers know how dangerous the device can be if it’s not given the utmost attention while in operation.
According to information listed on the American Cattlemen website, “The PTO shaft is an efficient means of transferring mechanical power between farm tractors and implements. It is also one of the oldest and most persistent hazards associated with farm machinery.
“Typical injuries resulting from getting caught in an open power takeoff shaft are amputations, severe lacerations, multiple fractures, spine and neck injuries, complete body destruction and even death.”
Dobson said the demonstrator has special meaning to him, since his father was severely injured with one. “It’s not the reason I started the program, but it sure did give me the fuel to take off and run with it,” he said. “So now it will be making its first public appearance.”
He said he is also bringing the Kid’s Cab, something he takes to the state fair. He said it is a real John Deere tractor cab modified so children can step right into it. Dobson said the children can play in it all they want, with one rule: They must buckle their seat belt.
“The kids go in it and have a ball,” he said. “There’s no telling how many millions of acres that thing hasn’t worked at state fairs. They get in it and the moms and dads have to drag them out.”
Dobson said the NFMS is an ideal place to bring the safety demonstrations and there will be someone else from KDA to answer questions and help with information.
The KDA website itself is full of information about farm safety. Here are a few tips on machinery safety:
•Read the owner’s manual of your equipment
•Wear your seatbelt
•Keep safety shields in place at all times
•Make sure exhaust systems are in good condition and leak-free
•Always have clear rear vision when traveling on roadways
•Hitch towed loads to the drawbar and never higher
•Keep a first aid kit and fire extinguisher on the tractor
•Never make repairs or adjustments to a working machine
•Always check for bystanders, especially children, before starting or moving equipment parts
•Always disengage equipment, shut the tractor off and lock brakes before dismounting
For more information about the NFMS, go to www.farmmachineryshow.org or call the NFMS Hotline at 502-367-5004.
For more information about farm safety, visit www.kyagr.com/marketing/ farm-safety.html