Seminar teaches fourth graders dangers of life on the farm
BENSON -- Accidents happen instantly. That was the message Benson fourth graders learned last week during an agriculture safety seminar sponsored by the Swift County Farm Bureau. The students watched demonstrations on what can happen when safety ...
BENSON -- Accidents happen instantly.
That was the message Benson fourth graders learned last week during an agriculture safety seminar sponsored by the Swift County Farm Bureau. The students watched demonstrations on what can happen when safety precautions aren't taken around machinery, electrical lines, moving grain and chemicals.
The seminar, which is held every year, is part of a safety unit in the fourth grade.
About a quarter of the 75 fourth graders at Northside Elementary School live on farms, Principal John Moorse said. And about half are connected to a farm in some way, he said.
The lessons went beyond farm situations, however, addressing general safety such as how to handle chemicals and work around power lines.
Swift County Farm Bureau president Mitch Tofte shared his farm accident with the students before a demonstration showing just how quickly someone can be pulled into moving farm equipment.
Tofte said he got too close to the power take-off, which is a shaft that's attached to a tractor and used to power other equipment. The equipment ripped off all the clothes on one side of his body and he sustained injuries that required several trips to the hospital, he said. But he said he was fortunate because they weren't life-long injuries.
The day after his accident, another student lost an arm in a farm accident, he said.
"There's so much power in this equipment," Tofte said.
A student asked if it could crack bones.
"Absolutely," he said.
A tractor connected to an auger by a power take-off was set up outside the school. Tofte showed the students where safeguards should be in place on the equipment.
He then turned on the tractor, and the students watched a work uniform stuffed with newspaper get pulled into a power take-off shaft that wasn't shielded properly. The newspaper flew several feet away from the tractor and the uniform wrapped completely around the shaft.
"That person is dead," teacher Mitch Maurer said. "It would have probably happened even more quickly than that."
Tofte said he had run the equipment as slowly as possible.
Inside in the gymnasium, students learned how quickly someone can be electrocuted when they're holding onto a ladder that touches a power line. Farm bureau members also talked to the students about handling chemicals safely, such as not using them around food. Students also saw a demonstration about what happens when someone falls into moving grain.
Moorse said seeing the results of ignoring safety precautions had an impact on the students.
"For some of the kids it was kind of revealing that it was instant," Moorse said.
The Farm Bureau will hold another safety seminar Friday at the Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Elementary School in Murdock.