Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator
Spring planting is a time when farmers and farm workers are continuously moving from one piece of equipment to another and climbing on equipment to fill with seed or make repairs. Long hours, fatigue, rushing to beat the incoming weather, and working into the night can all contribute to injuries. This is a time that farmers and farm workers should take extra precaution when working around farm equipment and consider the consequences of an injury during spring planting season. Precautions to reduce the risk of injuries this spring can include:
- To reduce fatigue, try to get enough sleep. This is your body’s time to rest.
- Plan out your day’s activities.
- Take short breaks throughout the day. Get out of the tractor for a few minutes, and to give your mind and body a chance to revitalize.
- Follow the procedures in the operator’s manual of equipment for safe operation, maintenance, and trouble shooting
- Keep equipment properly maintained and check all guards are in position and correctly fitted before starting work.
- Insure equipment has adequate lighting for working in the dark. Increase caution when working in early morning or late evening when daylight is diminished.
- Ensure that steps, hand holds, and railings are in safe operating condition.
- Exercise caution when steps or walking surfaces are wet or dirty.
- Avoid jumping off of the last step and anticipate changes in ground elevation or rough terrain when dismounting from the last step.
- Be alert to you surroundings. Know where equipment is being positioned and be observant to individuals who may be walking around equipment.
- Plan ahead and utilize safe methods when hitching and unhitching equipment.
- When working with others around equipment, maintain eye contact and communicate your intentions with the other person.
- Use Personal Protective Equipment when appropriate (ear plugs, safety glasses, gloves, respirator, etc.)
- Review all fertilizer and pesticide labels or Safety Data Sheets prior to using the product.
- Utilize safe travel routes between fields, and take into account potential problems with automobile traffic and narrow roadways. Use escort vehicles when needed.