TIFTON, GA (WALB) - WALB took a closer look at farm equipment safety Wednesday, after two serious incidents involving farm tractors in South Georgia in the previous two days.
A tractor fully engulfed in flames Tuesday in Terrell County is an example of the dangers farmers face when operating a tractor. The tractor caught fire because cotton built up in the engine compartment as the farmer was working in his cotton field.
"The newer pickers, they don't have to get off the tractor. They don't have to come in for the module builder. They need to be cognizant that they need to still stop at some point and go out and clean that out," said Dr. Glen Rains, an Agricultural engineering professor at the UGA Tifton Campus.
Thankfully, no one was hurt in the fire. On Monday though, 27 year-old James Turner was killed when he lost control of his tractor in Alapaha, causing it to flip over into a pond and pin him under the water. The tractor was there for quite awhile before someone came along and noticed it.
"Farmers will be on this equipment in remote locations, maybe for hours at a time," Rains pointed out. "So, some kind of check in schedule [is recommended] so if the farmer doesn't check in back at home somebody will check [on them]."
Georgia State Patrol is investigating to try to determine exactly what caused Turner to lose control.
Rains said with farmers working long hours this time of year during harvest it's easy to get in a hurry or get tired and forget about safety. But, that could have costly or even deadly results.