Harvest is an exciting (but busy) time of year, and with that comes some real safety concerns and hazards that can be dealt with in a safe manner. Here are some important tips to keep in mind to keep yourself, your family, and those around you safe this season:
Keeping your family safe begins with talking to them about harvest safety. Take the opportunity to talk about it when you’re having family dinner. Write down your address so in case 9-1-1 is called, your children know the correct address to give to the police. Give your kids the contact information of 3-4 trusted adults to call in case of an emergency after 9-1-1 has been dialed. Talking to your kids about where to go after they get off the bus and what areas they need to stay away from is also important.
Communication is also key when it comes to working with others during harvest. When you’re around grain bins, communicate with everyone if you’re going to be inside one. Have two to three people around to help, and make sure everything is shut off and locked out. Other equipment should not be running, either, so there’s no noise.
Machine safety features:
Many of the machines we use to harvest have safety features, so use those. Double-check for secure guarding on big equipment like augers and PTOs. When you need to step away from the machine, turn it off completely and put the keys in your pocket so no one else can start the machine.
Physical and mental health:
Harvest takes a toll on us physically and mentally. Take some time to eat lunch at home, and then lay down for a quick nap. Relax and reset your mind before you head back out into the fields. Taking that extra fifteen minutes to rest could prevent a future situation that arises due to exhaustion.
Check the lighting on your equipment before harvest begins, and turn on your lights in the evenings when you’re out in your fields and driving down the road. If you’re in a car and driving at night, be a proactive driver. Slow down and even stop at intersections where the corn is too tall. Don’t take the risk of going through an intersection too quickly, and be sure to stress this with your teenagers who might be driving at night.
Your first priority needs to be your family. When you harvest, you’re making an income for your family. They are the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing, and they want you to be safe and to come home to them every evening. Have a safe and plentiful harvest from us on the safety team.