“Our farm had a processing plant, where we cleaned our crops for market and seed for the next growing season. Normal operating months for the plant were September through March; there was no heat in the seed plant so we had to dress warmly.
The seed plant consisted of 21 electric motors operating all types of shaking, rotating, spinning equipment and moving belts and auger’s.
One cold winter night around midnight, I was cleaning crop in the seed plant. I made my normal rounds checking all the equipment to make sure everything was running correctly. I decided one of the seed cleaners needed adjustment.
I grabbed the ladder and placed it next to the seed cleaner and proceeded to climb up two steps to grab the adjustment arm which was close to the main drive belt that controlled the shaking speed of the seed cleaner. The belt had a shield so I was not concerned about safety. As I was slowly turning the adjustment handle, a large gust of wind swept into the building. The wind was so strong it slammed me against the belt shield, almost knocking me off of the ladder, and, unbeknownst to me, had blown part of my coat tail into the belt of the seed cleaner. Slowly I was being drawn into the machine. My first reaction was to push myself away from the machine; I tried again and again to no avail. I remember thinking, “I have to get loose.” I tried again, to push my body away from the seed cleaner, but I did not have the physical strength to tear the coat tail away from the upper part of the coat. I remember my chest being pulled tight against the shield. There I was literally caught with no way of escaping.
The story can continue and tell of my family members finding me the next day, still hung up in the seed cleaner, with a not so happy ending. But it did not end this way.
Before this incident, we had looked at how far away the stop switch was from any of the moving belts and motors. How would we shut off the power to the equipment if we could not physically reach the STOP button? Instantly, the Lord put in my head “wireless”. So we developed a wireless shut down switch for the plant-a transmitter worn on a belt or coat pocket, and a receiver on the START/STOP station of the electric motors. Push the transmitter button and the signal is sent to the receiver which shuts off the electricity to the electric motors that power the seed plant.
That is just what I did. When I realized I was physically unable to free myself from the seed cleaner, I pushed the transmitter button on my coat pocket and all 21 electric motors came to a stop. I was shaking uncontrollably, but I managed to unravel my coat from the belt and climbed down the ladder. My new coat was completely shredded, but I was physically fine, all thanks to the new safety system we had installed in the seed plant.
Our product, Fox-Paws, is used all over the world to save lives and protect investments in equipment. Since my incident, we have developed thirteen different models for endless applications. For additional information please visit www.redfoxsafetyproducts.com ”
Ted Lacy, CEO
Red Fox Safety Products