Harvest Safety Tips for Everyone

by Glen Arnold, Putnam County

Fall harvest will soon get started and soon will be into one of the busiest times of the year for farmers. Long hours and dangerous working conditions are accepted as a normal part of the life of a farmer. Farmers are accustomed to working alone and if an accident occurs help is usually not close by.

Fall harvest is expected to be much longer than normal this year due to the very late spring planting season. The harvest of early soybeans will likely begin next week but corn harvest could drag on through most of October.

Some Safety Tips for Farmers

Stay alert. Take breaks — get out of the cab and walk around every few hours. Keep your cell phone charged so you can communicate as needed when you need wagons moved, etc.

Shut down before working on a machine. If the combine becomes clogged, shut off the motor, not just the header, before attempting to unplug it by hand.

Know where your co-workers and family members are. Visibility is poor around large machinery and at night. Many deaths are the result of bystanders or family members being run over or crushed between machines.

Never trust hydraulic systems when working under a machine. Always use a safety prop if you must work under a header or other heavy machinery.

Never step over a rotating PTO. A few extra steps to walk around the tractor aren’t worth losing your life over.

Never stand on grain that is being moved. Every year people “drown” in grain carts and grain bins that are being emptied. Keep all kids away from grain hauling equipment.

Keep grain auger grates and shields in place. Be sure your equipment is properly maintained to avoid breakdowns.

If you must move machinery on a roadway after dark, have all necessary working headlights and flashing front and rear warning lights. The better you can be seen the less likely you are to be hit by a motorists.

Safety Tips for Rural Residents

Remember to be watchful on county roads during harvest. A car going 50 mph coming up behind a farm implement moving at 15 mph closes at a rate of over 50 feet per second.

Don’t pull out in front of farm vehicles. Heavily loaded trucks and grain trailers can’t stop as quickly as a passenger car.

• Be aware of Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs. Farmers place these triangular signs on the back of slow moving tractors and wagons. Know to slow down when you see them.

Watch out! Trucks and farm equipment may be entering the roadway from field lanes in places where you wouldn’t normally expect them. Be extremely cautious when passing farm equipment as it could be making a left turn you are not expecting.

• Give them room. Combines, tractors, wagons, trucks and tillage equipment are big and wide and take up nearly all of a rural roadway. When overtaking a combine, give the farmer time to see you and to find a place where he/she can pull over and make room for you to pass. Never try to pass a combine or other implement on the shoulder of the road and never attempt to pass until the driver is aware of your presence.

Harvest activity can disturb deer causing them to be on the move during times of the day they are usually lying down. Be especially alert for deer during harvest.

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