How many times has someone asked you, “Hey ol’ buddy, my truck is stuck in the mud. It’s not stuck bad. Can you pull me out?”?

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Fred Whitford, Coordinator, Purdue Pesticide Programs Dennis Nowaskie, Superintendent, Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center Steve Hawkins, Assistant Director, Purdue Agricultural Centers Doug Busdeker, Area General Manager Farm Centers, The Andersons Mike Depoister, Owner, TriPower Towing and Recovery Steve Queen, Safety and Risk Coordinator, Trupointe Cooperative Jamie Southard, Safety and Regulatory Director, Effingham Equity Kevin Leigh Smith, Editor, Purdue Agricultural Communication How to Avoid Expensive and Painful Incidents 2

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There™s More to Equipment Extraction than Hooking and Pulling 4Wh en an Unstoppable Force Meets an Immovable Object .10A Lucky Pull ..12Ju st Because You Can Doesn™t Mean You Should ..14Know What You™re Dealing With 18Communicate With the Recovery Team ..22Understand the Zones of Extraction and Forces of Resistance ..24Choose the Right Connecting Equipment 36Check Attachment Device Ratings .52Tips for Recovering Vehicles or Equipment ..60Remain Calm 72What to Do if Bad Things Happen 74Properly Inspect, Clean, and Store Recovery Devices ..76Inspect Equipment Post-Recovery ..82Take Action Today .86 Conclusion 90Acknowledgments 94Disclaimer 953

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5How many times has someone asked you, fiHey ol™ buddy, my truck is stuck in the mud. It™s not stuck bad. Can you pull me out?fl? If y ou™re like most people you don™t hesitate to at least try to help. You want to help your friend, and you expect that your friend would help you if the situation were reversed. Although you may be full of good intentions, it could be very costly and deadly if you don™t know what you™re doing. Th e truth is that for every story of a successful vehicle extraction, there is usually a story about something that has gone wrong Š sometimes very wrong. Ev ery vehicle extraction brings its own unique set of challenges and concerns. This publication examines the ratings of towing devices, factors to consider before you pull out stuck equipment or vehicles, and when calling a professional wrecker service is warranted. Our goal is that equipment operators will be better equipped with the knowledge to safely and effectively extract stuck vehicles without injuring the drivers, bystanders, equipment, or the environment.

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If you™ve never personally experienced an extraction gone wrong, consider the following true story from one producer. 6fiWe have three John Deere tractors on the farm: two 8295s and one 8345. We were using an 8295 to pull the planter when it got stuck in a wet spot. The initial plan was to use the other 8295 to pull it out, but the first attempt failed due to a lack of power. We brought out the 8345 tractor and attached it to the chain, but this also failed to even move the stuck tractor and planter. fiW e then attached the 8345 to the stuck 8295 with the planter, and then attached the 8295 to the front of the 8345. That™s when everything went wrong. fiA c otter pin snapped, and the clevis shot through the back windshield of the 8345. It struck the driver in the arm and bounced off the two most expensive computer parts in the cab before it shot through the front windshield. It went about another 80 feet past the other tractor. fiT he driver had to be taken to the hospital. He has had one surgery to date, and there are plans for a second surgery and a skin graft. The damage was extensive and his doctors are still determining whether he will permanently lose any range of motion in his arm. fiA fter the driver was hit, he could not move his arm, so there was nothing holding the tractor back. The 8345 shot into the back of the 8295, and now we have an 8345 in the shop with a lot of damage. fiI n the end, it took two, four-wheel-drive tractors with duals to pull the stuck 8295 and planter out. The driver™s injury and equipment damage was all caused by the tremendous tension placed on a single cotter pin pulled by equipment with lots of power. fiI t is also just one example of how things can go wrong when people get in a hurry and don™t realize what can go wrong. Think about what could happen before you try to pull out any equipment. The safety of the drivers should have been the most important thing here.fl

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When equipment gets stuck, a lot of people probably think, fiI™ve done this before; I know what I™m doing.fl But after a problem occurs, it™s too late to undo what was done. If someone gets hurt or equipment is damaged, we have to live with that forever. Before you extract any stuck tractor, truck, or implement, step back and think about what you are about to do. It is essential that equipment operators recognize the real dangers associated with pulling application equipment, tractors, or trucks out of mud, sand, or snow. Extracting equipment is anything but routine, and owners and operators need to understand the potential repercussions of unsafe practices (such as of using a cut towing strap, undersized clevis or chain, or a weak attachment point). Such shortcuts can lead to expensive repairs, injuries that last a lifetime, or worse, a person™s death. 8

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9 •š Operating safely is all about being consciously aware of what™s happening and anticipating the unexpected. Extracting stuck equipment is never routine because every situation is different. It only takes a split second to turn the most benign activity into one that causes serious injury or even death. Be a ware of all the equipment you are using and all the conditions around you. If the extraction breaks equipment, the flying debris can be just as lethal as a bullet from a gun.

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11It takes more pulling strength to move something mired in the ground than it takes to pull the same object over the road. When you tow something on the road all you have to do is get the weight of the towed vehicle moving forward. Wh en equipment is stuck, you™re moving fidead weight,fl which requires you to overcome additional forces. A dead weight pull places incredible stress on the straps, cables, chains, and other devices from the time we start pulling until the time the stuck vehicle is dragged forward Š that stress can be up to many times the weight of the stuck object. Th e stress on the connections is so great because there are two opposite forces that are, essentially, trying to rip the connections apart. It™s the force created when one vehicle pulling in one direction is increased against the force of the stuck equipment that doesn™t want to move. As the towing unit exerts more pulling force, the strength and integrity of the connecting devices and attachment points are put to the ultimate test. If the pulling force is greater than the force holding the stuck vehicle in place, then the stuck vehicle will be pulled toward the towing truck or tractor. Ho wever, if the force exerted on the chains, straps, and clevises exceeds the rated capacities of those connectors, the connections can snap, break, or tear, before the stuck equipment comes free. When the connectors fail under such pressure, it sends debris flying through the air with tremendous speed and force. Practice ficonscious awarenessfl and anticipate the unexpected. Extracting stuck equipment is never routine because every situation is different. It only takes a split second to turn the most benign activity into one that causes serious injury.

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