Even though we’re still in August, farmers are making last-minute preparations for fall harvest.
And that means making sure equipment is safe to handle, that there are enough workers to help out on the farm and making sure the proper protective equipment is in place to be used.
Here are 10 farm safety reminders from Penn State:
1. Get equipment ready. Unfortunately, many farmers use older equipment during harvest season that does not have recommended safety features, such as tractors without a rollover protective structure. Always use a tractor equipped with an ROPS when possible. Keep your equipment in good condition and make sure all guards are properly positioned.
Check to make sure that you have the recommended lighting on your tractor and implements, especially when traveling in the early mornings or at night.
2. Turn off the machine. Everyone is rushing to get that last field harvested and then the corn harvester gets plugged.
Even though you are in a hurry to get done, you must always turn off the tractor before you get off the tractor to check or unclog any piece of equipment.
3. Get plenty of rest and breaks. During harvest it is very easy to not get adequate rest, take breaks or even eat meals.
For you to remain alert during harvest, you can’t sacrifice rest and nutrition. When doing field work, take short breaks throughout the day to stretch. Stay hydrated and pack nutritious snacks or meals so that you have energy to complete the day's work.
4. Provide proper training. When it is crunch time during harvest, a person may sometimes accept help from a neighbor, family member or a friend. However, it is important for you to provide that person with proper safety training related to the task that they will be helping with on the farm.
5. Protect young workers. If you have youths — either your own children, hired help or volunteers — working for you during harvest season, evaluate the job they are doing to ensure they are not taking on more responsibility than they can handle.
Always provide training for youth workers and check on them regularly to see their progress and safety.
6. Remember proper lifting. Not all harvesting is done with tractors and combines. Some fall crops require hand harvesting and heavy lifting.
Remember that it is better to make multiple trips with lighter loads than to strain your body by lifting or carrying too much. When carrying an object, hold the object as close to your body as possible and lift with your knees rather than your back.
7. Get plenty of sleep. Don’t ignore your health during harvest. As hard as it might be, try to get adequate sleep, which will help you rejuvenate from a hard day and prepare you for the next day.
8. Use a hitching system. During chopping, a person can get on and off the tractor numerous times to hitch and unhitch wagons. Consider using a hitching system to reduce the number of times you need to get on and off the tractor.
If it is unavoidable, maintain three points of contact when getting on or off the tractor, and avoid jumping off the tractor or tractor steps. This will improve your safety and protect your joints over time.
9. Have personal protective equipment. Use personal protective equipment such as ear plugs, gloves and safety glasses when appropriate.
10. Be safe on roads. Check to make sure you have the recommended lighting on your tractor and implements, especially when traveling in the early mornings or at night.
When possible, avoid traveling on roadways during the busy morning and evening commute times. Use an escort vehicle when necessary.Source: Penn State, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.