, AgWeb Business & Crops Online Editor
Safety is important year-round on a farm. But, with the delayed and stressful harvest seen this year across the Midwest, farmers should definitely make staying safe a top priority.
Mark Hanna, Iowa State University extension agricultural engineer, offers the following simple guidelines to keep you and your farmhands safe and focused during the 2008 harvest.
"From a safety standpoint,” Hanna says, "it won't be business as usual.” He says with normal frost dates quickly approaching and many fields unharvested, farmers are likely to have a higher stress level than normal.
Be in the right mental attitude. Hanna says farmers need to cope with having to spend a little extra time in uneven fields or repairing equipment.
Keep steps and ladders cleared off. Most chronic injuries associated with combines, Hanna says, are a result of falling off the combine. "Take your time,” he says. "Use the handles and hold bars. These footing conditions can be hazardous.”
Have two fire extinguishers in the combine. "We are hoping for hot, dry weather,” Hanna says. "But, those conditions are more prone to fires.” He suggests having one small and one large fire extinguisher in the combine.
Double-check your equipment's safety features. Hanna also suggests making sure the lights and reflective tapes on your combines and trucks aren't damaged or missing. . "Prevention is the big thing,” he says.