September 20-26, 2020 kicks off the National Farm Safety & Health Week, with this year’s theme as, “Every Farmer Counts.” With the help of farmers everywhere our grocery stores keep stocked and our farmers markets have a variety of produce for us to enjoy. Farmers everywhere have already started prepping for the Fall harvest, while others have begun harvesting their Fall crops in other regions of the country. Check out our Top 10 farm safety tips during harvest season and be sure to share some of your farm safety tips in our comments below:
1. Farm Maintenance and Equipment. Keep up with regular farm maintenance and equipment. Always keep your farm equipment clean, have proper storage, and pre-inspect before using to ensure it is in good working condition. Also, do not neglect regular farm maintenance. When harvesting large areas of corn fields or other crops make sure to inspect if there are any objects or upkeep that needs to be removed or fixed.
2. Refresh on Operating Manuals. Read over operating manuals for machinery and farm equipment. Be sure to refresh your mind on how each function works on a piece of equipment or tractor. As well, review the safety precautions and procedures in case of emergencies.
3. Know Where Young Children Are. Many tasks on the family farm are taken care of with the help of young children. Be sure to always check around to see if there are any young children nearby and keep them at a safe distance away from all farm equipment and tractors while in use.
4. Get Plenty of Rest and Take Breaks. Harvesting crops whether with a machine or by hand takes long hours and days. Be sure to get plenty of rest the night before, drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and to take breaks especially when working with heavy equipment and large quantities of crops.
5. Practice Grain Bin Safety. University of Illinois Extension outlines practical grain bin safety tips every farmer can follow such as children are not allowed to play in or around grain bins, wagons, or truck beds; stay out of grain bins, wagons, and grain trucks when unloading equipment is running; and make sure to wear a harness attached to a properly secured rope when entering a grain bin, etc.
6. Be Safe on the Roads. Avoid busy morning and afternoon rush hours when harvesting calls for a commute from farmstead to harvest fields. Make sure you have the recommended lighting on your tractor or farm equipment. When operating on the highway your equipment should be brightly lit, visible from both the front and rear, and flashers should always be used (even at times not legally required). For equipment where running electrical wiring is expensive or difficult, check with your local equipment dealer for low-cost LED flashers and lights that can be battery powered, magnetically mounted, and easily moved between equipment pieces to improve safety. When necessary, do not hesitate to use an escort vehicle.
7. Practice Proper Lifting and Carrying Techniques. When having to resort to hand harvesting for specific crops, make multiple trips with lighter loads instead of straining your body or carrying too much. When carrying crops, hold the object close to your body and lift with your knees and not with your back.
8. Train Workers. Harvesting season may come with hiring new workers or getting an extra hand from neighbors, friends, and family. Just like any other job; be sure to train workers/ helpers and teach them proper farm safety procedures to prevent accidents and injuries.
9. Turn Off the Machine. Safety First! Always turn off the tractor or power down any piece of equipment before you check for clogs or problems.
10. Use Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS). The UW Center for Agricultural Safety and Health recommend the use of tractors that are equipped with ROPS and a seat belt. As stated, “Older, Pre-ROPS tractors on farms are not uncommon- but wherever possible, their use should be limited and curtailed or reserved for parades, tractor shows, or other special events. Where a ROPS retrofit is not practical or possible, these machines should only be operated by experienced adults and their use should be limited as much as possible to level ground and other lower risk uses.” As well, make sure all guards are properly positioned to keep equipment in good condition.
To learn more about ROPS, Iowa State University Extension has a knowledgeable publication, "Use tractors with ROPS to save lives", read the article Here
Thank a farmer and share your appreciation for their hard work throughout this season.
Contact Paroubek Insurance today to speak to a Trusted Farm Advisor and learn more about Farm Insurance! Stay Safe and Happy Fall!!!