By Allison Cloo and Eric Lloyd
If you saw an overturned and burned up tractor on the side of the road, would you think it was a success story? What if we told you that it could be?
Earlier this year on an Oregon farm, a tractor was driving in a low-clearance orchard and took a turn too wide at the end of the row. The tractor flipped on a slope, the muffler ignited the tall dry grass underneath, and flames engulfed the vehicle.
It might be easy to say that the driver was lucky to get out alive, call for help, and get the fire under control before it spread. This wasn’t luck, though. Instead, it was an example of a farm making choices instead of taking chances.
Before this summer, the farm had multiple tractor accidents. Part of that history was tied to inconsistent use of roll-over protection bars and seatbelts while moving in and out of orchards. Rather than continuing with that pattern, the farm management decided to invest in a reasonably-priced small cab tractor and enforce seat belt usage at all times.
The result of this small investment and new protocol meant that the tractor driver was able to unclip himself and walk away from the tractor with only minor injuries. The tractor was a loss in this case, but the farm avoided greater damage to its orchards and beyond because the driver could get help quickly and suppress the fire.
What investments can you make in equipment or behavior that will save lives and money?
We hope to bring you more stories like this, shared via our partnership with Eric Lloyd at Oregon Risk Management Solutions. If you have your own stories you would like to share, please be in touch with Oregon Aglink! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will find a place to share your words and photos.