Farmers say harvest season poses safety risks - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Farmers say harvest season poses safety risks

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) - Eastern Iowa farmer Dave Wheeler was performing routine work one night six years ago, during the harvest season. He decided one September night, close to sundown, to clean out one of his grain bins.

Unfortunately, the unexpected happened. Wheeler was going back and forth between his truck and grain bin, and during his last trip to the inside of the bin, his foot caught on part of the door. As a result, his left arm fell into the blade of the auger.

"One of the blades went across my hand, and cut through my wedding ring," Wheeler said.

Wheeler was lucky; a neighbor noticed he needed help and called emergency crews. Thankfully, doctors were able to save Wheeler's arm. However, not all farmers who experience accidents in the field are as lucky; Iowa State University research shows thousands of farmers are injured every year while hundreds die from farming accidents.

Wheeler said one of the most important pieces of advice farmers should remember is to never work alone. He also recommends implementing certain safety measures on grain bin equipment, like screens or belt covers. Farmers also said kids in the fields need to be aware of farming equipment and safety at an early age.

"What the equipment is, you don't want them playing around it, not understanding what the crop is. I think it's good to give them rides in the combine, in the tractor, so they understand what's going on," David Ulrich said, a farmer in Black Hawk County.

Meanwhile, farmers said there's no manual for the job, and said the risks will always be there.

"There is a danger to farming. I mean, that's just reality."

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