The latest in the rotary mower product line from Bush Hog has a sleek, streamlined look with lots of open deck space. Company officials say that's so you can clean it off easily after you've used it to cut down pastures or weeds. You could make a case that the big, smooth service also gives the company plenty of space to put all kinds of warning labels and safety precaution stickers in a multitude of languages.
You won't just find these on Bush Hog products. Check out big grain carts and a number of other pieces of farm machinery on the market today. The industry has graduated from cartoons exaggerating safety hazards in a tractor operator's manual in the 1950s to brightly-colored, hard-to-miss warning labels right on the machine itself.
The multiple language angle might be because the product could be sold in other countries. But it's also useful if it's sold in the U.S., then used by a worker of a different nationality.
Perhaps most of these are required to meet farm equipment industry specs, or the specs of company lawyers worried about liability cases in the future. But they also have a real value. If you take time to let your eyes move to each one – at least each one that you can understand – and read it, you will have all the safety information you need to prevent careless accidents while using the machine.
Of course, as Bill Field preaches, the best farm accident prevention is staying alert and paying attention to what you are doing at all times. Field is the Purdue University Extension farm safety specialist who has taught Hoosiers about the need to think and practice safety for going on four decades.
His efforts earned him an Honorary Master Farmer award in 2014.