Kent McGuire – CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator
Finally, warmer spring weather brings better attitudes and a busy start to the spring planting season. 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 fall related injuries. This is a time that farmers should take extra precaution to prevent falls when working around farm equipment. Precautions to prevent slips, trips and falls during spring planting should include:
- Observe the basic safety rules of the equipment’s operating manual.
- Review the warning labels located on equipment.
- Shut off equipment and make sure equipment is in “park”, before dismounting
- Maintain 3 points of contact when mounting or dismounting equipment.
(1 hand and 2 feet) or (2 hands and 1 foot)
- Ensure that steps, hand holds, platforms or railings are in safe operating condition.
- Clean dirt, mud, and debris from work platforms and decks of equipment, before entering these areas.
- Face towards the equipment when mounting or dismounting equipment with ladder style steps.
- Avoid trying to carry objects when mounting or dismounting equipment.
- Exercise caution when steps are wet or dirty.
- Avoid jumping off of the last step.
- Anticipate changes in ground elevation or rough terrain when dismounting from the last step.
- Be alert and focus on foot placement when walking, especially during early morning or evening when daylight is limited.
- Lower equipment to the ground and work from the ground if possible.
- Minimize crawling around on top of tillage equipment. Work from a ladder or step stool.
- Avoid distractions or hurrying when doing elevated work on equipment. Be observant to any slip, trip or fall hazards.
- Ensure that equipment or the work area has adequate lighting to complete the task in low light conditions.
- Use a ladder or elevated platform to work on those hard to reach places, rather than trying to stand on the equipment in an awkward position.
- Clean up debris, liquid spills, or spilled seed. All of these can cause a slip, trip, or fall.