Develop a “safety first” attitude. Harvest season often brings with it longer working hours and a rush against time. Be sure to take time to think; it may save your life or the life of someone dear to you. Every year, thousands of farm workers are injured and hundreds more die in farming accidents. According to the National Safety Council, agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the nation.
Tips for reducing injuries on the farm:
- Discuss safety hazards and emergency procedures with your workers, including family.
- Read and follow instructions in equipment operator’s manuals and on product labels.
- Heed safety warnings!
- Inspect equipment routinely for problems that may cause accidents.
- Install and maintain approved rollover protective structures (ROPS), protective enclosures, or protective frames on tractors and self-propelled equipment.
- Always use seat belts when operating tractors with ROPS.
- Keep the operator’s platform clear of debris.
- Make sure guards on farm equipment are replaced after maintenance.
- Maintain proper lighting and reflectors on vehicles and equipment.
- Keep slow-moving vehicle signs clean and visible.
- Take precautions to prevent entrapment and suffocation caused by unstable surfaces of grain storage bins, silos, or hoppers. Never “walk the grain.”
- Be aware that methane gas, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide can form in unventilated grain bins, silos and manure pits and can suffocate or poison workers or explode.
This is also manure hauling season for many. Review safety procedures for agitating, pumping, and hauling manure. Be aware that manure gas dangers exist in non-enclosed storage as well as enclosed storage units. See the Portage County UW-Extension Manure Safety Resources webpage at http://portage.uwex.edu/agriculture/manure-safety-resources/ for additional information. A MUST SEE while at this site: the recently recorded “Manure Gas Safety” webinar to review the dangers of manure storage and handling systems.
As we become deeply involved in the harvest season and daylight hours become less and less, it is important to be thinking about safety and making sure our ag vehicles are visible to others when we operate them on the roads. This is not only for their safety but ours as well. For more information on lighting and marking of equipment see the UW-Extension Agricultural Vehicles on the Road website at http://fyi.uwex.edu/ioh/.
Ken Schroeder, Agriculture Agent