Operator and Equipment Safety Tips
Dec 13 2023
Many workplace injuries and deaths involve vehicles and moving equipment, but sometimes this equipment is essential to the work operation. All vehicle and equipment operators should be trained, competent and safety-minded to avoid costly accidents.
Before operation, drivers should carefully read the operator's manual and observe the operating, maintenance, and safety instructions. Operators should be prepared for a safe day at the wheel, by getting enough rest and taking occasional breaks, especially on hot days, to reduce fatigue.
Operators should dress appropriately for the weather and work conditions, including head and eye protection. If the vehicle doesn't have a protective cab, dust respirator and acoustic earmuffs or plugs may be required. Before driving, seat belts should be securely fastened, even if the vehicle has roll over protection (ROPs). No one should ride on any part of a moving vehicle, except areas intended for transport. If there are no passenger seats, there should be no riders. Operators should see to it that everyone is at a safe distance from the equipment before moving. Only those with a driver's license should drive equipment on public roads. Vehicle ground speed should match operating conditions. All workers should be warned not be approach or get on equipment that is under power. When the vehicle is stopped, brakes should be set securely, using park lock, and remove keys to keep unauthorized persons or children from restarting the machinery.
Operators should disengage the power take off, keeping shields and guards in place, and turn off the engine before unclogging, refueling or working on any power-driven machine. Other workers can avoid danger from moving equipment by staying alert, out of the way, and by never walking under or alongside moving equipment. As an added safety precaution, a first-aid kit with emergency numbers should be kept in the vehicle or close enough for quick access.
Tractor, harvester, and combine fires can happen for a variety of reasons. The mixture of chaff, diesel fluid, and grease leakage can mix to form a fuel that a fire extinguisher may not be able to put out.
Below is a list of suggestions on how to protect equipment throughout the year.
Pre- and post-harvest: Preform maintenance checks: This can include a cleaning to remove built-up residue; checking for leaks; and inspecting your guards, brakes, and safety devices.
During harvest: Remove the chaff, dust, and crop residue. Keep fire extinguishers in and outside the cab where it can be reached from the ground. Shut off the engine, to cool for 15-20 minutes before refueling.
Daily farm safety: Inspect the exhaust system for leaks and damage, look for exposed and deteriorated wiring, and schedule time for regular maintenance.