Tragedy strikes farmer in the blink of an eye
Four years ago Jack Maloney, Brownsburg, and his son, Peter, and other helpers were working on their grain leg. Their mission was to switch from handling corn to binning soybeans.
At the time the master control panel was set up like it’s set up on many farms. A certain sequencing of events, such as timing of a series of augers to turn on or off, is on automatic control. If one auger turns on, other augers also turn on.
• Accidents can happen in one push of a button.
• Don’t take safety for granted after years with no accidents.
• Lock-out tags on control boxes reduce chances of accident.
An employee turned on an auger. Almost instantly, he heard screams. What he didn’t know was that Jack was still working on the grain leg. When the employee pushed the button, the first auger kicked on, automatically kicking on the auger Jack was working on.
Jack’s arm was badly mangled. Peter fashioned a tourniquet out of his belt and calmed his dad until help arrived. Still, a push of a button changed Jack’s life forever.
Life goes on
Jack was fitted with a prosthetic arm. Employees made adjustments on equipment so he can still operate machinery.
“What we really miss is that he can’t climb bins anymore,” Peter says.
Jack is open about the accident. In fact, at the farm management tour on his farm, he requested a mini-tour on grain system safety and accident prevention, hoping to spare others what he went through.
“We always practiced safety, and there wasn’t an accident on this farm in 40 years,” Peter says. “You need to keep safety in the back of your mind all the time you’re working around grain or machinery.”
This article published in the August, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.