By Harriet Bremner

Why does someone have to die before we change the way that we do things to make it less dangerous? We are dealing with the shit that kills you every single day and forget how dangerous the things we are doing are because it goes right most of the time.

When your alarm goes off in the morning, you follow your daily routine of getting ready for the day ahead, which presumably is going to be like any other given day. Get jobs done on the farm, go home, spend time with your family, sleep and do it all over again… with never a second thought about your shirt.

But what if that shirt you have chucked on this one morning becomes the shirt that nearly kills you later in the day? It turns you into another statistic, a number and you become that guy who made that fatal mistake of going near a moving power take-off while wearing a loose shirt. This is then followed by the grief and trauma that the people you left behind now have to spend the rest of their lives enduring. Not something you wish on your worst enemy.

I have recently engaged in a conversation online about a story that was shared with regard to a guy overseas getting caught up in his PTO.

The photo in the first instance, caught my attention. A now stationary PTO with the remains of a shirt and pants wrapped so tightly around it, ripped to shreds.

It made my heart sink and my stomach turn. Not another one I thought. I felt that gripping feeling that I know all too well returning.

I then started to read the story attached to the photo. The guy states that his shirt was caught by the PTO of the tractor and that it had taken him with it.

It just so happens that his father was close by and he grabbed him and threw him to the other side all the while his clothes were eaten and shredded beyond repair.

They both suffered minor injuries but are counting their blessings as they were reminded in that instant that tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

This made me think about how bloody close we are between being able to walk away from something or it being the bitter end for our life.

This situation was shared as a simple story and photo and has gone viral reaching thousands of people who are reminded that PTOs are dangerous and should not be treated lightly. Ever.

This is something we should learn from and need to because there are still too many avoidable accidents and deaths occurring every day on farms all over the world.

I applaud this farmer for sharing his story. He is able to see the bigger picture that this will save someone else’s limb or life in the future. He has not thought about paperwork or red tape but he is simply seeing that the power of a story can reach so many.

It has been received without judgement or negativity but with praise and gratitude that he was brave enough to do so and that he lived to tell the tale.

This is what I want to see more of in our sector – storytelling. How powerful is it to share our stories with others knowing that it can and will in fact save their life at some stage down the track? We should not feel ashamed if something does go wrong but look at it as a time to reflect on how we have been doing things and how we can learn from it and help others learn. This is putting people and our fellow farmers first and ensuring that they go home alive at the end of each day by stopping and thinking before they do something.

Why does someone have to die before we change the way that we do things to make it less dangerous? We are dealing with the shit that kills you every single day and forget how dangerous the things we are doing are because it goes right most of the time.

But what if that shirt you have chucked on this one morning becomes the shirt that nearly kills you later in the day? It turns you into another statistic, a number and you become that guy who made that fatal mistake of going near a moving power take-off while wearing a loose shirt.

Share your stories with me please! For the sake of your neighbors, friends, brother, sister, husband, wife and children, share a story like this so that next time they are in a similar situation they can stop and think twice, before making a fatal or limb losing mistake.

Let’s make sure that they go home every night in one piece and know that by simply sharing our own personal stuff-ups, it could save a life.

Send me a message and photo at harriet.bremner@saferfarms.org.nz so that we can help create awareness (anonymously if you like) through our Safer Farms Facebook page and this column that gets people talking about how to make the best decisions every single time they step foot outside after putting on their favorite shirt.

We want stories that involved absolutely anything from PTO to vehicles, quads, animals, chemicals and anything farming. This is the most effective way that we can look after the ones that we love and remind them that this stuff does happen to anyone at any time, of any age and of any experience.

So, when you put on your shirt today, stop and think about what you have to do and how you are going to do it. Make sure that your shirt makes it home to the washing machine so you can chuck it on tomorrow for another day in paradise because no one likes to lose their favorite shirt.