4 harvest safety tips

09/06/2018

Your commitment shines through in the work you do each day on the farm. As harvest time approaches we want to be sure that work is done safely with you and your employees in mind.

We know as the days get shorter, the rush to get crops in during the harvest window intensifies but we must remember not to sacrifice safety. Here are four common harvest time accidents which could happen to you and the ways you can prevent them from occurring.

Worker fatigue

Harvest season can be a sun up to sun down affair, and that can lead to heightened risk. To prevent accidents, resist the urge to work when you are fatigued and keep tight control of the hours your employees are working. Also be alert for the signs of fatigued workers, especially those performing hazardous duties, and encourage them to take breaks as needed.

After-dark road accidents

Drivers don’t expect to encounter a poorly lit, slow-moving combine taking up a lane and a half – especially after dark. Try to avoid driving heavy machinery in the dark, even if it’s only for a mile or two, to decrease the risk of a collision. Be sure light bars are functioning properly and travel with a support vehicle when possible. Additionally, equip employees with reflective clothing and gear.

Combine dust fires

Corn stubble and grain dust accumulate on harvesting machinery, creating the perfect environment for a combustible dust fire. In fact, since 1980, more than 450 accidents involving dust have killed nearly 130 workers and injured another 800-plus, according to OSHA. Remind workers to never smoke near machinery and to stay up to date on machine cleaning.

Rollover accidents

Speed and fatigue can be a lethal combination during harvest time. One in ten farms has experienced a tractor overturn with 47% occurring without rollover protection structures (ROPS). Typical rollovers without ROPS result in more than three months of work missed or worse. While an overturn with ROPS average three lost days. Tell your team to slow down and be careful while operating machinery.

We know harvest time can be hectic but your safety is paramount. Follow these tips so that you can kick your feet up after the harvest.