Injury prevention & safety tips for harvest | Michigan Farm News

Injury prevention & safety tips for harvest

Category: People, Crops

by Ohio State University Extension, Farm News Media

While staying safe should always be a priority, long hours and the stresses of completing a successful harvest creates the ideal environment for accidents.

This harvest season, safety should be a priority within the farm operation. Consider that it is a time that involves long hours and the need for multiple pieces of farm equipment working simultaneously to complete a crop harvest.

The continuous activity, diminished daylight and stresses that can be associated with harvest can often lead to agricultural-related injuries. Common injuries during fall harvest include slips, trips and falls; blunt trauma incidents; sprains and strains; and injuries due to fatigue.

Some simple ways to reduce the risk of an injury during harvest include:

  • To reduce fatigue, try to get enough sleep. This is your body’s time to rest.
  • Set a realistic pace for yourself, and plan out your day’s activities.
  • Take short breaks throughout the day. Get out of the combine or truck for a few minutes, and do something to get away from the equipment and 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.
  • Ensure equipment has adequate lighting for working in the dark. Increase caution when working in early morning or late evening when daylight is diminished.
  • Maintain 3 points of contact when mounting or dismounting equipment: (1 hand and 2 feet) or (2 hands and 1 foot)
  • Ensure that hand holds or 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 your surroundings. Know where equipment is being positioned and be observant to individuals who may be walking around 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, etc.).
  • Utilize respiratory protection such as an N95 respirator in dusty environments.
  • Utilize safe travel routes between fields, and take into account potential problems with automobile traffic and narrow roadways. Use escort vehicles when needed.