Harvest Tips for a Safe and Productive Season
Harvest can be one of the most beautiful and wonderful times of the year but it is busy and can be stressful. The feeling of urgency and rushing can lead to dangerous situations. Take time to prepare now and avoid putting yourself, your family, and your employees into a scenario that could have been avoided.
Always turn off the machine
Clogs, rocks, and other breakdowns happen regularly during harvest. Before getting out to diagnose the problem, make sure to turn off the machine. Equipment entanglements are a leading cause of injury and death for agricultural workers. If you find you need to run the machine to accurately diagnose, make sure to have another person there.
Take breaks and get enough sleep
We all feel the push to get done before the next weather event but give your body the rest it is asking for. When you are overtired you are more likely to take risky shortcuts or miss something important.
Create an emergency plan
Hopefully you never need it but by having it done, you’ll save time and maybe even a life. Include contact information for everyone in the operation, local emergency services/utilities, and an accurate way to pass on each field location to a dispatcher. Cannot stress that last point enough. They can’t send help if they don’t know where to send it to!
Train all equipment users, especially new or young workers
Not everyone is accustomed to work each piece of fall machinery. Anytime someone new gets into equipment it’s a good idea to take the time to go over proper operation and safety procedures.
Meet lighting and marking requirements
We often run in the dark during harvest. Make sure to have all lights, reflectors, etc in working order before getting on the road ways!
Practice grain bin safety
Entrapment can happen in as little as 15 seconds. Evaluate if you MUST go into a grain bin and if you do, never do so alone. Make sure all equipment is off and wear a mask to filter out dust and mold.
Know where the children are
Designate safe play areas that are away from high traffic zones. Put clear rules in place about playing near equipment and , as an operator, double check your surroundings before moving any equipment.
Use the right tools for the job
Don’t take short cuts. Going back to the shop for the correct tools, jacks, etc. may take more time but reduces unnecessary risk.
Practice proper lifting
You sometimes don’t realize the value of the good back until you don’t have one. When lifting, use leg power instead of back power, carry close to your body, and ask for help when needed!
Where your seatbelt
Equipment cabs and Roll Over Protection Systems (ROPS) can protect an operator from a lot of situations but they need the operator to STAY IN THE SEAT to do the most good. Take a second to click on the seat belt especially when traveling on road ways – it could save a life