Put Safety First During Harvest
Submitted by Tracy Schlater
Marketing Director, Farm Safety For Just Kids
Harvest is such an exciting – and exhausting – time for farmers. Daylight is diminishing little by little and the weather plays an uncertain hand. Farmers must take advantage of the time they are given to get crops out of the field, so they work long hours doing a physically strenuous job.
The demands of harvest make it the most prevalent time for farm accidents. Fatigue and a lengthy list of to-dos can result in farmers sometimes cutting corners to save time. However, farmers need to remember they can’t afford to have an accident. A 10-day stay at a hospital will cost approximately $143,000 plus another $4,200 in lost productivity – such losses could wipe out a farm’s entire operating earnings for a year!
It pays to “play it safe.” Here are a few harvesting tips to avoid accidents during harvest:
- Stop at least once an hour and turn off the engine to clear plugged equipment – especially considering the extremely dry conditions.
- All guards and shields should be secured before equipment is turned on.
- Avoid sleep deprivation and take plenty of breaks.
- Always let someone know where you are and check in regularly.
- Do not allow riders unless machinery is equipped with an instructional seat.
- Ensure all lights are working properly before heading onto public roads.
For many of you, the farming operation is a family affair. Please make sure all your harvest help, especially children, are aware of the dangers of harvest. For more information about farm safety, visit fs4jk.org, or click the links above for activities pages you can complete with your kids. Stay safe and have a happy harvest!