Be safe this harvest season

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Column by David Harrison, Extension Service

By David Harrison

Accidents are often preventable. With the fall harvest underway, let’s be careful and prevent accidents and tragedies from happening. Harvest season is a busy time for farmers and it is a peak season for agricultural injuries.  Consider the following safety tips.

• Be sure all workers are trained and physically capable of operating equipment and understand the safety procedures. Take time to talk to workers about safety.

• Long working hours can lead to fatigue and stress, making you less alert to potential safety hazards. Take some breaks when operating equipment for an extended period of time.

• Avoid loose clothing, jackets with dangling strings, and sweatshirts that could become entangled in moving equipment. Entanglement in moving parts, especially power take-offs or other chain and belt drivers, is a major fall harvest hazard.

• Inspect machinery and equipment to be sure shields and guards on moving parts are in place and in good repair. Replace ineffective or missing safety equipment.

• Before getting off equipment, disengage the power and wait for moving parts to completely stop. When possible, shut off the engine.

• It’s a good idea to take the ignition key with you so another person does not unexpectedly start equipment while you are performing maintenance or repair. If you are working under any piece of equipment, such as a header unit, always use the jack stand or hydraulic cylinder locks to prevent it from suddenly falling and pinning you under. Be sure all safety locks are operational.

• A pinhole-size hydraulic leak can cause severe tissue damage. If you are injected with oil from a hydraulic leak, immediately seek medical assistance. The oil must be surgically removed, and delays can result in serious infections and possible amputations. Always use paper or cardboard to check for hydraulic leaks.

We will give some more tips in next week’s column.