Harvest time is one of the busiest seasons in agriculture which also makes it one of the peak periods for preventing farm injuries and fatalities. For this reason, the third week of September is observed as National Farm Safety Week.
As a leader in equipment financing, AgDirect recognizes that many farm accidents often involve machinery and grain handling equipment. But a few simple steps can help make your farm safer for everyone working or living on or around it.
Here are 7 steps to help keep your farm safe this busy harvest season:
- Know your risks. Awareness is the key to safety on the farm. Know where your risk is highest – like around machinery, grain storage and electrical utilities – and keep a record of potential hazards. It’s also a good idea to be conscious of emergency situations including fires, vehicle accidents and electrical shocks. Be especially alert to hazards that may affect children and the elderly.
- Create a response plan. Though a serious farm accident is not something you want to think about, you should have a plan in place if the unthinkable happens and share that plan with everyone on your farm. Consider farm worker age, specific equipment and protective equipment, and available medical care (emergency and non-emergency) when creating your farm safety plan.
- Keep a constant eye out for hazards. A quick inspection of potential dangers and hazards on the farm can pay off in spades in keeping your farm safe. Take a quick walk around your grain bins, for example, and make sure all shields, guards and safety equipment are in place before you start working.
- Read all manuals, instructions and safety information. Though it may be easy to toss an owner’s manual for a piece of equipment into a pile in your farm shop or office, resist that urge and spend time reading up on any equipment or material that could pose a human health risk. This includes owner’s manuals for machinery and material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for chemicals.
- Keep worker, machine and surroundings properly protected. Proper machine guarding and equipment maintenance can help prevent accidents. Always wear seat belts when operating tractors, use personal protective equipment (such as safety gloves, coveralls, boots, hats, aprons, googles, face shields) and establish and maintain good housekeeping practices. Take precautions to prevent entrapment and suffocation caused by unstable surfaces of grain storage bins, silos or hoppers. Never ‘walk the grain’.
- Inspect all safety shields and protective structures on the farm. Are your older or smaller tractors outfitted with Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS)? If not, hold off on operating those machines until you can find one from your local dealer. Also, make sure all power take-off (PTO) shafts are covered with approved safety shields.
- Stay lit up and visible. During busy fieldwork seasons, roadway safety should take a high priority. That includes making sure all tractors, combines and other machinery is adequately labeled with Slow-Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs. Also, make sure all your machines’ lights are fully functioning so you are extra visible during road machinery transport at dark and during early morning and dusk hours.
In general, the best way to keep safe on your farm – in addition to these specific measures– is to stay aware of all potential dangers and be ready to act quickly if a hazardous situation arises.
As you enter harvest season, AgDirect is here to help you make the right financing decision on your next equipment purchase so you can focus on what matters most in your operation, including farm safety.
Apply online, check rates, quote payments and compare options at agdirect.com or in the free AgDirect Mobile app available for download from the App Store and Google Play*. Or learn more about AgDirect equipment financing by locating your nearest AgDirect territory manager or contact the AgDirect financing team at 888-525-9805.
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