It is no surprise that the agriculture industry is the most dangerous industry in the US. That is why it is important to take every precaution during spring planting. This time of year, farmers will feel most rushed to get their fields planted. The time delay due to moisture forces many to work long hours.
SPRING PLANTING SEASON SAFETY TIPS
- Transport Safely. Make sure your equipment is compliant with the state’s specific agriculture road travel equipment safety requirements. These requirements include proper lighting and marking requirements to draw attention to the size, shape and speed of agricultural vehicles and to alert drivers that caution is required. There are specific requirements for different types of equipment.
- Encourage youth involvement on the farm, but make sure to match age and ability level with each chore. Also, develop a set of guidelines for your family, so each member knows what they can and cannot do on the farm. Always know where children are on the farm and ensure safe practices.
- Stay Healthy. Take breaks and allow yourself to re-energize. Without an adequate amount of sleep and proper nutrition, you will be operating at a reduced level in the fields. When fatigue sets in, that is when injuries and mistakes are most likely to happen. Remind workers to stay hydrated and rested outside of the farm. Take extra precaution as weather heats up in the transition to summer.
- Inspect your space. Look critically for hazards before you start planting, and before they become real hazards. Think about new safety precautions you can implement this year, such as a lock-out tag-out program to prevent injuries. Inspect your equipment if it has not been used since last year and make sure it is serviced before taking it out into the field.
- Make sure all safety guards, shields, and access doors are in place. If one is removed for service, put it back again when complete. If you purchased a used piece of equipment, do a check to make sure all safety devices are present.
- Keep the access stairs and operator’s platforms clear of tools and other items while performing maintenance on tractors and machinery. Slips and falls are common injuries while working in the shop as you mount and dismount the equipment. Refrain from jumping off equipment.
- Be a safety role model. Develop a safety plan for the farm. Teach proper safety skills to kids and teens and remember they will mimic what they see their parents and mentors do. Practice what you preach.
Clint Thom, Regional Safety Director