Safety should be No. 1 priority at harvestWe are entering probably the busiest time of the year for farmers, harvest time. With so much to do in such a short time we often get rushed in what we do. No matter how rushed we become, never let safety be a second priority. According to research from Iowa, 47 percent of all farm accidents happen during the months of August, September, October and November.
By: Lance Brower, The Jamestown Sun
We are entering probably the busiest time of the year for farmers, harvest time. With so much to do in such a short time we often get rushed in what we do. No matter how rushed we become, never let safety be a second priority. According to research from Iowa, 47 percent of all farm accidents happen during the months of August, September, October and November. That is almost 50 percent of the accidents in one- third of the year. Most injuries can be prevented by taking a little extra time. This applies to drivers of the open road as well as the equipment operators.
Lots of big farm equipment will be moving down public roads this time of the year. As an equipment operator, make sure your lights are on. As a vehicle driver, be patient getting around the equipment. A county commissioner that I worked with was killed when he tried to pass a tractor and a bailer. A neighbor of mine was killed when he was rear-ended while he was on his tractor going down the road.
The most frequent way combine operators get hurt is by falling off of combines. Operator platforms are usually 6 to 8 feet above the ground. The ladders and these platforms are usually painted and can be slippery under the best conditions. When we get rain, snow, mud or crop residue in these areas, it just makes things more slippery. Operators should check their footwear and make sure that the soles are not worn out. You may need all of the grip you can get.
Most tractors and combines have one seat. That means one person in the cab during operation. Some tractors and combines have two seats. This extra seat is meant to be for an instructor, not for children.
As an operator, make sure you get enough sleep, take some breaks, and be familiar with the equipment. When you are not on the equipment year round it is easy to have an accident. Be aware of medications and how they will affect you.
Do not try to unplug equipment while it is running. Most (if not all) equipment moves faster than the operator can react. We have all heard the horror stories of these kinds of accidents. Please check around your machines before operation. Sometimes people are not thinking and are in a bad place at the wrong time. I know of people that have gotten run over. Above all, have a safe harvest.
(Lance Brower is the community, leadership, and economic development extension agent, Stutsman County office, NDSU Extension Service. Contact him at 252-9030 or email lance.brower@ ndsu.edu.)