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Words of advice

A reminder to anyone who is new to country/rural living, beware of the lure of newly acquired machines, chain saws, tractors, and any other implements you have purchased now that you live where such things are handy. They are not just overgrown toys. Using them is serious business.

Responsibility for using machinery starts with the operator. Whether you use a small lawnmower or a tractor, it is on you to become familiar with the capabilities and features of the machine. Youtube.com offers a plethora of safety videos, many of them free, that will help you get acquainted before you buy or take a machine for a spin. If an owner’s manual is available, read it carefully for your own safety and knowledge of how the implement works.

Any machine that is used beyond its capabilities is likely to lead to an accident or even death. On a fine spring day, a friend took his older model farm tractor out to pull an old post that had been in the ground for years. It was in a spot he wanted to turn into a garden and the post had to go. His tractor had the horsepower but he didn’t think about consequences. The front end of the tractor was light and had no additional tractor weights installed. He hooked up the chain to the post and proceeded to give a powerful throttle to the tractor. The post was firmly embedded and the tractor flipped over, killing the man. It seemed like a simple task yet there were many variables — all of which led back to him not realizing the capability of the tractor in that situation.



When equipment is new it comes with safety features. A riding lawn mower has an automatic shut off when the weight of a person goes off the seat. But when you buy a used machine, the features are sometimes inoperable. If you get off the riding lawnmower, shut it off first. Make sure tractors have rollover protection, if not a cab. Even then if driving on hilly terrain, err on the side of caution. Several years ago, a man who was a careful type, rolled his tractor and he was killed. These types of accidents are often compounded by youth and inexperience. The eye or the life you save may be your own or your child’s.

Children who have not been around machinery — four wheelers, side-by-sides, lawn mowers and more — may be more inclined to think of the fun they will have, not the dangers they face nor the steps they will save. It is imperative that new-to-the-country parents only allow youth to use equipment after they have watched safety videos, have been taught and supervised by a responsible person and have learned the parental rules. Know the limitations of each family member before they are turned loose. Even with careful use, accidents happen.



Much boils down to this: adults need to learn safety rules for themselves and then, as a parent, you going to have the time to teach and supervise at the appropriate level, until such time as the youngster, or you, seems to have a grasp of the gravity and skill of using machinery.

Peggy Sanders

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