As the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter, harvest season is in full swing for many farmers across the country. Although harvest can feel like a routine part of the year, it’s always important to keep in mind that it can also be the most dangerous season of the job. Farmers, workers, friends, and family can all benefit from brushing up on a few harvest safety tips to help make the fall run more smoothly.
Even if this is your 30th harvest or your 3rd, it’s always important to review proper training when using heavy machinery. Whether you are a veteran worker or new to the field, going over the equipment functions and various safety procedures can help refresh your memory and keep all workers safe. A list of such procedures and prep work leading up to harvest can be found on the National Ag Safety Database.
Although it may seem like common sense, always remember to completely power down equipment when not in use or when you are trying to fix something not running properly. It can feel like you are saving time by leaving machinery running to remove a clog or if you’re only stepping away for a moment, but really it could be detrimental to your own safety and the safety of those around you. Always remember to power down, even if it means losing out on a few minutes of productivity.
Harvest usually means hard work for long hours, oftentimes late into the night and starting early in the morning, but this doesn’t mean that farmers and workers should be putting their sleep schedule on hold. If anything, during harvest, workers and farmers should be sure to take frequent breaks and try to be completely rested before a full day’s work. It’s easy to make mistakes after a night of bad or little sleep, so always allow yourself and your workers the time they need to get back to 100% before working another long day into the night.
Harvest is an important part of the year for farmers and their crew, it can also feel like you are running against the clock, or more importantly Mother Nature. However, it is important to keep these and other safety tips in mind when the days start to get long and an easier way begins to look tempting. Allow yourself the necessary time for repairs, rest, and refuel – and always remember to have an emergency plan if the worst does happen.