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Fall Harvesting Preparation- Safety Tips

We are still in July, but farmers are making last-minute preparations for the fall harvest. Farmers across the nation need to ensure that their equipment is safe to use, there are enough workers, and that there is proper protective equipment in place and ready to be used when necessary.

Here are 10 farm safety reminders from Penn State University:

  1. Make sure equipment is ready. Avoid using older equipment that doesn’t have safety features. Use tractors equipped with a ROPS if possible and always keep your equipment in good condition.

  2. Turn off the machines. Whether you are rushing or not to get that last field harvested, you must turn off the tractor and all other equipment that is being used before you stop using them.

  3. Take plenty of rest and breaks. It’s easy to become solely focused on finishing up the harvest- that taking breaks and eating may feel like a waste of time. Don’t sacrifice rest and nutrition. Stay hydrated and pack snacks or meals that give you enough energy to complete your work. Your body needs the proper fuel and hydration for manual labor and combating the heat.

  4. Provide proper training. In order to finish their work, you may ask for help from a neighbor, family member, or a friend. Make sure you provide that person with proper safety training related to the task they will be helping with on the farm. This will keep these individuals out of harm's way and from making mistakes that may result in injury.

  5. Protect young workers. If you have youths involved in your work, ensure they are not taking on more responsibility than they are able to. Don’t forget about training and be diligent to check on them regularly to see their progress and safety.

  6. Remember proper lifting. Sometimes fall crops require hand harvesting and heavy lifting. Remember that is always better to take multiple trips with lighter loads than lifting or carrying too much. When carrying an object, hold the object as close to your body as possible and lift with your knees rather than your back.

  7. Get plenty of sleep. Don’t ignore your health and try to get adequate sleep. Remember sleep and nutrition are key to maintaining energy which is important when performing manual labor.

  8. Use a hitching system. During chopping, a person can get on and off the tractor and other equipment numerous times to hitch and unhitch wagons. Consider using a hitching system to reduce the number of times you need to get on and off the tractor. If you cannot avoid it, maintain three points of contact when getting on or off the tractor or other equipment and avoid jumping off these pieces of equipment.

  9. Have personal protective equipment. Use equipment such as ear plugs, gloves, safety glasses, etc.

  10. Be safe on the roads. Double-check the lighting on your tractor, especially if you travel in the early mornings or at night. Also, avoid traveling on roadways during the busy morning and evening commute times.

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