Safety should always be a top priority no matter the type of equipment you’re using on the farm. Many, if not most, incidents are preventable. Here is a quick guide to helping you stay safe and alert while using harvesting equipment.

1. Wear Protective Gear

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is one of the most important items used when operating harvesting equipment. One mistake can cause a big change in your life whether it be a serious injury or even death.

Wearing closed-toe boots can mean the difference between having two feet or ending up with one or none. Closed-toe boots will prevent injury in case anything heavy falls when you’re working next to or around a harvester. Long-sleeved apparel, long jeans and gloves will prevent any abrasion and sun burn. Googles or glasses are just as important to protect your eyes from any debris or dust, regardless if it’s outside next to the harvester or inside. Just like eyes, ears must be protected as well. To reduce noise and hearing damage, earmuffs or any type of hearing protector is necessary when in the field. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum and should not be loose. A hard hat to protect any falling or flying objects to use in conjunction with the rest of the PPE will ensure a safe workday.

2. Read the Manual

Thoroughly reading and understanding the manual will not only also ensure a safe workday but it’ll also give you a chance to help other workers who may struggle with understanding it. The Safety & Health Council at Purdue University recommends re-reading the manual each season as a refresher and anything else that you might have missed when reading it the first time.

3. Be Aware of the Terrain

According to the Safety & Health Council at Purdue University, it’s crucial to watch out for obstacles, ditches, steep hills and other hazards that could cause a combine to overturn. Wearing a seat belt can be the difference between falling out of the harvester or being safe if it ever overturns.

According to the Purdue University extension, it’s important to remove stumps stones and foreign objects on the field and locate any large ditches. Travel downhill instead of uphill to avoid overturn. Staying alert, keeping hydrated and avoiding long work hours will ensure your safety and other people’s safety around you. Avoid having more people than necessary when riding in the cab, especially if there are children.

4. Keep a First Aid Kit

A first aid kit should be kept on the property at all times for emergencies. The kit should be easily accessible for all employees on the farm and quickly reached. According to North Dakota State University, they recommend having the following in your first aid kit:

  • Bandages
  • Roll of adhesive tape
  • Medical exam gloves
  • Sterile pads
  • Antiseptic treatment
  • Antibiotic treatment
  • Burn treatment for use on minor burns
  • First-aid guide
  • Eye coverings
  • Eye and skin wash
  • Hand sanitizer with a minimum of 61 percent ethyl alcohol
  • Cold packs
  • Sterile saline

Read more: Harvesting Equipment: What Do You Need?


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