Farm accidents are often preventable. With the fall harvest underway, let’s be careful and prevent accidents and tragedies from happening. 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.
n Before getting off equipment, disengage the power and wait for moving parts to completely stop. When possible, shut off the engine.
• 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.
• 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.
• Use common sense before doing something foolish that you may regret for years.