Jim Chapman is a 35-year-old farmer who lost his left arm in a farm accident 12 years ago. “It was just a usual day and just like that, it became the worst day of my life”.
He was asked to help a friend on their farm and Jim said that the day started badly when the first machine he tried to use wouldn’t start as it was too cold.
The next machine he tried wouldn’t operate correctly to get the job done, so eventually, he was asked to use a tractor and a vacuum tanker.
Jim had operated this kind of machinery before, so there was nothing he wasn’t used to. “The tractor was a small 90hp tractor, so it wasn’t big, but the tanker was old, probably older than I am,” explained Jim.
The PTO guard was in very bad condition as Jim reflects, “Looking back now, I wouldn’t go anywhere near it”.
With respect for the owner of the machine, at the age of 23, he did as he was asked. Jim was working with two other men at the time and water wasn’t emptying from a hole they were looking in so they asked Jim if it was set properly.
"I went back to the front of the machine, without turning anything off. I knew that the pump - which is in front of the tanker - was sucking by putting my hand under the exhaust."
“I definitely remember thinking, yes, it’s all set right." Just as he was moving away, his jumper got caught in the PTO shaft.
A little piece of loose clothing snagged onto a small pin attached to the PTO shaft and in a second it had pulled him in and thrown him out the other side without an arm.
He knew that he had lost it when he reached towards the pain but could only feel bone.
Jim had suffered immense pain and couldn’t bear to face the injury. He suffers from phantom pain that makes his lost fingers feel like they are in a vice.
“For the first couple of years, it was incredibly painful,” recalled Jim.
Emotionally, he enjoyed the attention from his friends and loved ones at first, but as time passed, he became more and more depressed and even had suicidal thoughts.
He has since married and carried on with life but has more recently suffered from flashbacks that make him feel nauseous. The memories are continuing his suffering today.
Video source: Yellow Wellies Farm Safety Foundation \ YouTube