Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health
Today’s agricultural equipment is powerful, very efficient and versatile in how it can be used. Recently while looking over a new piece of tillage equipment, I counted thirty-seven warning labels located all around the unit. Also in the operator’s manual there was a section dedicated to safe operation and a review of the warning labels. Manufacturers use these items to reduce liability while the product is being used by the consumer. However, the warning labels and equipment manual can be great tools for refreshing our memory of the hazards associated with the equipment. Warning labels on farm equipment usually indicate the following potential hazards:
Wrap Points: Any exposed equipment component that rotates at high speed or with a high degree of torque. Injuries occur because of entanglement with the part.
Shear / Cut Points: Shear points happen when two edges come together or move passed each other to create a cut. Cut points happen when a single edge moves rapidly and forcefully enough to make a cut.
Pinch Points: Any equipment that has two objects that come together with at least one of them moving in a circular motion. Most pinch points involve belts and pulleys or chains and sprockets.
Crush Points: This occurs when two objects come together or a single object moves towards a stationary object creating a blunt impact. This can include being caught under or between moving parts or equipment.
Burn Points: Any area on a piece of equipment that can generate enough heat to cause a burn to the skin if touched.
Free - Wheeling Parts: Some mechanical systems will take time to come to a complete stop. These parts can include rotary mower blades, flywheels, and equipment that must go through a full revolution or cycle to come to a complete stop.
Stored Energy: Any amount of potential energy waiting to be unintentionally released. This can include pressurized hydraulic systems, electrical circuits, spring tension, and chemical reactions.
Thrown Objects: Occurs when material or objects are discarded from the equipment with great force. Injuries occur when the object strikes the individual.
Take some time this spring to review the safety sections of equipment manuals and walk around each piece of equipment to examine the warning labels. Recognizing the hazards associated with the equipment can significantly reduce the potential for injuries.