Eight Easy Farm Harvest Safety Tips
It’s always good to talk about farm harvest safety! Harvest is one of the busiest times in the year for farming and, even during the rush to cut a thousand acres of canola, wheat, rye, or barley, it is nice to be reminded about how to keep you, your family, and workers safe. Read on for eight tips and best practices for farm harvest safety…
1. Check Equipment Before Operating
Ready for a tune up? It’s a best practice to complete maintenance on all harvest machinery well before harvest begins. This may include oil and lubricant changes and basic engine and operating checks for all parts.
As well, right before getting in the cab, it is a good habit to walk around the machine and look for anything amiss. Once inside, honking your horn can notify those around you that you are about to engage the machinery too.
2. Be Aware of Entanglements
Loss of limb is a danger farmers regularly face at work. Common sense for reducing your risk of entanglement includes:
- Slow down and be mindful around operating machinery
- Turn off and allow machinery to completely stop before attending
- Avoid loose fitting clothing and shoes
- Tie back long hair
- Replace damaged or missing Power Take-Off (PTO) shields
- Never remove or alter safety equipment on machinery
3. Clean the Yard
A tidy farmyard is both a wonderful thing to look at and a contributor to farm harvest safety. Try to put tools, machinery attachments, farm implements, and general stuff away. Not only will this keep the yard clear, but it will also mean you know where to find things!
4. Take Care of Your People
Remember to take care of yourself as well as your workers. You might need to work sunup to sundown, but that doesn’t mean you should skip out on meals, water, and a few breaks. The Do More Agriculture Foundation covers in-depth how to manage harvest stress.
5. Bin Safety
Grain bins can pose a number of safety risks at any time of year:
- Use fall protection when climbing grain bin ladders
- Be mindful around augers when loading bins
- Have a plan and use caution any time you enter a grain bin (even when it is empty)
- Lock out the power supply
- Don’t enter a grain bin alone—Have people nearby to help you if something goes wrong, always wear a body harness
- If grain is spoiled or mouldy, wear appropriate respiratory equipment
6. Watch for Rocks, Metal, and Other Debris
Are you farming rocks this year? However hard you try to clear away rocks, fields always seem to generate new ones. Rocks and other debris, like metal and wood, in your field will cause problems with your harvesting machinery when ingested. Any breakdowns can cause delays to your harvest so ensure you stop and remove large debris. Insurance coverage for machinery ingestion and loss of use may also be available on your farm insurance policy.
7. Practice Caution When on the Road
It may be necessary to drive your mobile farm machinery on a public road in order to complete your harvest or assist a neighbour with theirs. Check provincial regulations to ensure you’re driving at the appropriate time of day and have the correct signage and lighting to notify other road users of your presence.
8. Review Your Farm Insurance Policy
Together with your insurance broker, review your coverage to ensure you understand how your farm policy might protect you if there is a loss at harvest. If you’ve purchased new equipment or hired more staff it is a great time to review the limits of your coverage and consider any additional coverages which may benefit you.