Safety tips for the farm

This week is Farm Safety Week, and across the country, farmers and others in agriculture are working long hours on and off the farm. Whether handling equipment or traveling our rural roads, patience and safety are paramount.

Harvest season is a pressure packed time for growers, and it is easy to take shortcuts that can be hazardous to the grower and others in the community.

Bayer’s Matthew Brandt reminds growers of some important safety tips.

“One of the more challenging parts that I see in today’s harvest is getting equipment to and from the fields. A lot of our customers have gotten bigger, they cover a greater geographic area, which means more time moving that equipment from farm to field. The good thing is today’s equipment is much more advanced in terms of warning systems and lighting available, including the hazard lights and signage,” according to Brandt.

He also stresses that you should be aware of your surrounding at all times. “Sleep plays a big factor in the operator’s ability to protect themselves and operate the equipment defensively,” he said. “We encourage growers to take time to rest during this extremely busy season for both their health and for their safety.”

Brandt says to make sure you take proper precautions when working in and around grain bins and transportation equipment.

“We want to remind growers to stay out of grain bins, wagons, grain trucks, and other unloading equipment whenever it’s running. Growers should also not enter a grain bin by themselves, there should be at least two people on site when working around the grain bin and anybody that goes into the grain bin should be wearing a safety harness of some sort to protect themselves. Also, one thing that I think we often forget during the busy season is something as simple as shutting off the power and locking out unloading equipment before you enter a grain bin to prevent any unintentional starting of that equipment while the individual’s in the grain bin.”

Another important tip is sharing your plans for the day with those close to you.

“One thing I always recommend to grower is if you’re working alone, make sure family and friend know where you’re working and how to reach you,” he adds. “I’ve experienced that myself where my cell phone may not have great coverage in all the areas that I travel or all the fields that I go to, and having someone that knows where you are and what you’re doing, and when maybe they should expect to see you again, is a really good safety tip, in the case something goes wrong.”

Brandt says that when a project is too big for one person, do not attempt it alone. Make sure to seek help from an employee, a family member or neighbor, if it’s too heavy or too dangerous to tackle by yourself.