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Dress For Safety Before Heading to the Field

Dress For Safety Before Heading to the Field
Simple things you don't think about may lead to serious or fatal accidents.

The old axiom "dress for success" gets a slight twist on it when Steve Wettschurack talks to farm audiences and FFA groups about farm safety, especially at this time of year when they are likely working around augers, PTO shafts and plenty of moving parts.

The Purdue University Extension farm safety specialist works on specifically on safe grain handling, often training rescue workers and first responders, talks about "dressing for safety."

Respect PTOs and augers: Part of respecting the PTO or auger is to leave guards in place. Note that the guard is in place over the PTO on this tractor. Another part is to make sure you don't have any dangling clothes or jewelry, even hair, that could become entangled.

You immediately imagine wearing goggles and a hazardous materials suit. The goggles might be a good idea depending upon what you're doing, but you probably don't need the haz-mat suit on the farm. You might think of a mask, and if you're working in a confined space with grain dust, an N-95 paper mask is recommended, he says.

However, the main element he is talking about is wearing suitable clothes, and making sure the clothes you are wearing aren't setting you up for tragedy. Avoid dangling sweater or hoodie strings, for example. Don't wear pants or coats that are frayed with sections of material hanging off that could get caught by a Pro shaft or an auger. Tie your hair back if it is long so it couldn't get caught in any kind of mechanism where you're working.

Believe it or not, nylon jackets could make you more at risk in case of an issue, he notes. The nylon material has little "give" to it. Instead of ripping off, if it gets caught by a PTO shaft or auger it is likely to stay intact, entangling you in the shaft or auger. It's better to be embarrassed because your clothes are wrapped around a shaft than to be wrapped around it yourself.

Wettschurack sometimes does a demonstration where he takes a 15-foot cord, similar to a shoestring cord, and asks people to watch how long it takes to wrap around a moving PTO shaft once it makes contact. It happens so fast you can't time it accurately, he notes.

Dress for safety. Success will likely follow.

TAGS: Extension
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