In Reply to: Augers (post hole diggers) can be dangerous - be careful! posted by Ed Gooding (VA) on July 14, 2014 at 07:41:24:
Back when I was the Fire Marshal here, the City Manager placed the EMS Dept. under my direction and supervision and one very hot summer day, we were dispatched to a farm tractor emergency not too far from our headquarters.
Upon arrival, we quickly discovered that while setting old railroad ties for fence posts in the black gumbo soil we have here, the auger on the tractor that two men were using would not bite into the ground on this particular hole, so rather than using their heads and retrieving a bucket of water to soften the soil, one of the fellows decided he'd stand up on the tractor's lift arms and jump on the arms to try to get the auger to bite into the soil. Additionally, the plastic safety shield for the PTO shaft was of course missing from said shaft. According to statements made by the tractor operator, the man riding and jumping on the lift arms (in slick leather soled cowboy boots) only made a couple of jumps when his right leg slipped off and to the inside of the lift arm, the spinning PTO shaft catching the right side leg of the jeans he was wearing, and you can imagine what happened next; (all I'll say here is that the site was not very easy to look at).
The tractor operator, being totally in-experienced with this type equipment, panicked and jumped off the tractor thinking he could grab his fellow worker to help the situation (rather than simply pressing down on the clutch pedal). As near as we could figure, the man on the rear who was now very deceased, and who was not a small individual by any means, had been spun 360 quite a few times through the small space between the shaft and both lift arms until another worker nearby ran over and shut the tractor's engine off.