Let's Be Safe Out There

Sep 27, 2022

Keeping safety at the top of the list will produce a safe harvest season.
“Harvest time is a busy time with many factors that can intensify the pressure to get the crop off the field and into the bin,” said Tom Rausch, Federated’s director of safety.
“Shorter days, colder, wet weather, and equipment issues are only a few things that can increase urgency,” he said, all of which can lead to injury—or even death.
Rausch offered the following safety tips to keep growers, farm workers, and their families safe this fall. Each of these tips falls under the category of “things we can control,” an important aspect of safe and efficient farming.
Rausch noted that several of the ideas presented here came from this source.
  1. Come up with a family checklist for all equipment. Make a list of what needs to be done then assign a family member to complete the tasks.
  2. Review manuals. For those new to a piece of equipment or for the equipment that hasn’t been used in a while, it’s crucial everyone knows the dangers involved to work with the equipment and complete the task safely.
  3. Have an emergency communication plan. Think through what could possibly happen and develop a plan of communication to use just in case the unexpected happens. Cell phones and two-way radios work very well for this.
  4. Maintain the yard. Remove tree limbs, look at overhead power lines that could be an issue, and keep clutter away from the work areas.
  5. Train everyone who will be using equipment. Even if they have operated the equipment before, it’s still a great idea to provide them with a refresher on the things they need to know to be safe. It’s so easy to forget something learned last spring or fall. A quick reminder is priceless!
  6. Know where young children are. Keep children off tractors and farm equipment. Designate a safe play area away from all the action. Always inspect the area/walk around equipment before using it.
  7. Stop when you feel fatigued. Everyone does it, pushing through to complete the day’s tasks.  But remember, if fatigued, you are more likely to take shortcuts and perhaps miss the signs that can lead to an accident. Don’t risk injury; save yourself the needless or expensive repair bill. 
  8. Ensure your equipment meets current lighting and marking requirements. Check out this link.
  9. Practice grain bin safety. Always ask the question: Do I really need to enter the bin? Addressing bridged grain situations, ensuring all equipment guards are in place, and knowing oxygen levels are vital. Proper personal safety equipment is critical to ensure safe grain handling. This link offers additional information on how to stay safe with grain bins.
  10. Beware of machinery entanglement dangers. Machinery entanglements are the leading cause of injury and death on the farm. Do everything you possibly can to prevent them. Make sure all guards are in place. Always turn off equipment and release stored energy before unplugging.
  11. Roadway travel. Avoid traveling after sunset and during times when more traffic is expected.  Be patient, and remember to transport combine heads separately when moving on the roadways. 
“Our loved ones are counting on us to return home safely each night,” said Rausch. “A carefully thought-out harvest plan will ensure successful completion of what everyone has worked hard for this growing season.”
Please contact your Federated Agronomist with safety concerns, or email Rausch directly with specific farm safety questions.

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