Farm Safety During Harvest
Combines have been rolling in the area soybeans and dryland corn. This is a busy time for farm families, but don’t let the rush to get the crop in compromise safety. Farming is one of the most hazardous occupations in the U.S. Here is a quick list of reminders for a safe harvest season.
It’s important to teach children these safety tips so they learn safety by habit as they live and work on the farm. Keep children and grandchildren away from equipment and machinery. Children who are involved in operating machinery and equipment should be properly trained by an adult on each piece they operate. It is always fun for kids to ride in the combines, or on the tractor fenders, but if there is not an extra seat and a seatbelt, it’s not a good idea. Tractor operators can be distracted by these extra riders and not keep their full attention on operating the equipment. All it takes is a sudden stop or swerve for the extra passengers to be thrown off or more serious injuries to occur. Keep kids out of grain wagons and bins and always be watchful for children and adults when moving machinery.
Double check to make sure all machinery is working properly and that safety shields are in place. When moving equipment, especially grain augers, watch for power lines, keeping equipment at least ten feet from them. Don’t get into grain wagons or bins while the grain is moving. Many people have seen the demonstrations of how quickly a person can be sucked under the grain and suffocated. Probably the hardest one to follow, yet easiest safety tip to do is to shut down moving equipment when it gets plugged. It only takes a few extra seconds and is well worth it to save a limb. People who think “nothing will happen to me” are those at the greatest risk for something to happen because they do not practice safety as they should. Farm accidents happen so quickly; don’t let them happen to you or your family!
Try to move equipment during the daylight hours. If you must move equipment at night, make sure tractor lights are working properly and slow moving vehicle signs are visible. It may even be helpful to put lights on grain wagons or on equipment you are pulling for other drivers to see them in time. You may have someone follow you in a vehicle with flashers to warn others of a slow moving vehicle ahead. Be cautious of other drivers as they get anxious to pass, especially if they try to pass while you intend on turning. For all of us on the road, it’s important to slow down and stay alert when we encounter harvest equipment on the road. During this Farm Safety Week, I’m wishing everyone a safe and bountiful harvest!