Importance of Equipment Safety
Nearly everyone on the farm has experienced a farm incident or close call while working with everyday farm tasks. As we begin to prepare for planting season, a refresher on equipment safety is essential to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.
Now, I know what you may be thinking. I have been working with planting equipment for 20 years; I don’t need an equipment safety refresher. Well, I have one question for you, ‘What if?’ What if something more serious than a few bumps and bruises happens to you, your family or even your employees?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, agricultural workers have a fatality rate of 21.3 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. In Minnesota alone in 2012, 70 agricultural workers had fatal work-related injuries. The majority of these incidents happen due to a judgment error by the operator while working with machines, livestock or on many other daily farm tasks. Farm safety needs to be practiced every day to prevent serious or fatal injuries on our farms.
Below are several suggestions for ways to stay safe around equipment this planting season.
• Before operating, fully understand the equipment’s capabilities and hazard potential
• Use all modern safety features – such as Roll Over Protection Structures (ROPS), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and seat belts
• One Seat = One Person – Not only do extra riders distract the operator, there is no safe place in the majority of farm equipment for an additional person.
• Understand all laws of center of gravity and centrifugal force to prevent rollovers
• Follow all manufacturer’s recommendations for pulling equipment with the hitch and/ or using the hydraulic lifts on the equipment – including proper bucket position and hitch points
• Use handholds and care when getting on and off equipment to avoid slips and falls
• Ensure the equipment is properly maintained and cared for
In conclusion, by utilizing these suggestions on an everyday basis, you can provide a safe and healthy workplace for yourself and your workers. We all need to keep farm safety in mind to ensure that a severe or fatal injury never occurs on our farms. For further information or questions, feel free to contact Karen Anderson, Agriculture Extension Educator, Steele County Extension office at 507-444-7685 or Rice County Extension office at 507-332-6165.