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Farm Safety is Paramount This Spring

Alfalfa fields across the country ...

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Farm Safety is Paramount This Spring

Alfalfa fields across the country are nearing ideal maturity, indicating it’s time for harvest. As haying equipment and other heavy implements are prepared to be put into action, farm safety is once again top of mind.

“Safety on the farm is important any time of year, but it has heightened awareness this time of year when farmers are starting hay harvest,” says Joseph Buschor, Loss Control Consultant with Agri-Services Agency. “Not only is heavy farm equipment being used, but farmers are working long hours to get hay harvested at the ideal quality. That adds to greater fatigue and more opportunities for injuries to happen.”
Before operating equipment, make sure all shields are working and in place, moving parts are free of debris, tires are properly inflated, there is no exposed wiring and there are no damaged hydraulic lines. In addition, consider these tips to help improve safety and reduce potential accidents:
  • All vehicle and equipment operators should be competent and trained on the operation and safety procedures specific to the equipment that they will be operating
  • While long hours are common this time of year, operators should get enough rest and take breaks as needed to reduce fatigue
  • Operators should wear appropriate clothing for the environment. If the vehicle doesn’t have a cab, personal protective equipment such as dust masks or hearing protection may be necessary
  • Before driving, seat belts should only be used if roll-over protective structures (ROPS) is provided. Per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration  all agricultural tractors shall be provided with ROPS with very few and specific exceptions
  • No one should ride on any part of a moving vehicle except areas intended for passenger transport. If there are no passenger seats, then there should be no riders
  • Operators should ensure that everyone is a safe distance from equipment prior to moving
  • Vehicle ground speed should match operating conditions. Workers should not approach a piece of equipment that is moving
  • When the vehicle is stopped, parking brakes should be set or the transmission set in park as per the manufacturers’ operating instructions, and keys removed to keep unauthorized persons or children from restarting the machinery
  • The power take-off should be disengaged, the engine turned off and all stored energy released prior to unclogging, performing maintenance or repair work on any power-driven machinery
  • A first aid kit with emergency numbers should be kept in the vehicle.
Even though time is of the essence during tillage, planting and harvesting seasons, farmers should keep safety in mind to prevent injuries. The time saved ignoring safety procedures to get a field planted or a crop harvested isn’t worth the expense of any potential injuries that could result.
For more information on farm safety tips and techniques, contact your local Agri-Services Insurance agent at (877) 358-9523 or visit www.agri-servicesagency.com.