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Additional tips for harvest safety

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Column by David Harrison, Extension Service

By David Harrison

Let’s look at some more harvest safety tips in this week’s column.

Keep bystanders away from operating equipment. Also, be aware of people who may have come into the area. Harvesting areas and equipment are no place for children. Always check around equipment before starting or moving it.

Carry a fire extinguisher on all tractors and self-propelled equipment, especially combines. Periodically check extinguishers to be sure they are pressurized and in good condition. To prevent fires on combines, be sure equipment is clean and hoses and fuel systems are in good shape and not leaking. Remove trash and debris around engine components.

Check for clearances with overhead power lines when operating or moving tall machines, because contact may result in electrocution. Moving portable augers around overhead power lines is especially hazardous so always lower them first.

When moving equipment, keep slow-moving-vehicle emblems and extremity markings clean and bright to help motorists notice equipment. Replace faded SMV emblems and check headlights, taillights and flashing lights for satisfactory operation. 

To alert on-coming drivers, use escort vehicles where appropriate, and use reflectors or reflective tape when the edges of towed equipment extend beyond the left side of a tractor. If a tractor has mirrors, keep them clean and adjusted for the driver to watch for approaching motorists. When possible, pull completely off the road to let a line of traffic behind pass.

Other drivers need to watch for unmarked field entrances or other places the farm equipment driver might be planning to enter. Drivers may need to move to the right to complete a left turn so do not assume he wants you to pass when moving to the right side. Pass only in a designated passing zone or when the other driver signals and completely pulls off the road.

Have a safe harvest.