Turkey farm worker killed in tractor accident

A man was killed in an accident while sanitizing the interior of a turkey barn in Stearns County, Minnesota.

Roy Graber Headshot
(Pro100Dzu | Bigstock)
(Pro100Dzu | Bigstock)

A man was killed in an accident while sanitizing the interior of a turkey barn in Stearns County, Minnesota.

According to a press release on the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, the victim was driving a tractor and pulling a trailer when doing the sanitizing. He apparently became entangled in the tractor’s power take-off (PTO) shaft and became trapped. The victim was identified as Keith Deane Kingsley, 32, Melrose.

The press release did not state whether a PTO shield was in place.

The call was reported to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center at 5:21 p.m. on January 8.

Kingsley was pronounced dead at the scene, but the sheriff’s office is conducting an investigation. The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy.

The scene of the accident was located about 2 miles west of the city of Melrose.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Melrose Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Melrose Fire Department and the Melrose Ambulance Service.

The press release did not disclose any companies with which the farm was affiliated. However, Jennie-O Turkey Store does operate a turkey plant in Melrose.

PTO safety

While PTO shafts, which are used to transfer power from a tractor to an implement, are usually equipped with shields to prevent accidents, these accidents still occur.

PTO shafts can reach speeds of up to 1,000 revolutions per minute.

According to the Show Me Farm Safety website, the only time a PTO shield should be removed is to do maintenance, and then it should be immediately put back in place.
Entanglements can happen when people are working near a PTO and a piece of clothing gets pulled into the PTO. The rapid revolution of the PTO can pull a person onto the PTO and tear clothing off, sometimes resulting in serious injury or death.

The farm safety webpage recommends that workers keep a distance of about twice their height from the PTO while it is in use.

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