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5 Reminders for a Safe Harvest Season

Harvest Safety

While harvest is a time of great joy, reaping the rewards of a season full of hard work, it also comes with inevitable risk. Farming is a dangerous job, especially when harvest comes around.

From complex heavy machinery to long hours in the field stretching beyond dawn to dusk, there are many unfortunate accidents that can turn harvest dreams into nightmares in the blink of an eye.

Plus, we know farming is a family business, and harvest often involves multiple generations. As you hit the fields this fall, keep these tips in mind to protect your people.

1. Plan ahead.

Now is the time to check all of your harvest equipment and perform any necessary maintenance or repairs. Give yourself plenty of time to identify any problems with your tractors, combines and more before go-time. This seemingly small step in your to-do list could help you prevent a fire.

Your spouse may know your location when a meal is needed, but do they know the field you’ll be in day-to-day? Keeping them in the know can allow for quick action during an emergency.

2. Pick the right person for the job and keep an eye on little ones.

As much as all those involved in a farm business want to help out, especially during harvest, it’s important to set boundaries on farm responsibilities. If you have kids helping on the farm, make sure their tasks match their age, maturity, independence and skill level. Children all develop at different rates, so it’s important to make sure each child is only involved in processes that they are highly familiar with and understand the safety considerations for.

Even if you don’t have them on the payroll, chances are, there are some kids out in the field with you and the crew. Make sure you are always aware of any children around, and maintain a safe distance between them and any equipment.

P.S. It helps if you dress them in bright colored clothing that is easy to spot from far away.

3. Get some rest.

We know that time is of the essence and we all want to hit the field in that perfect window, but it’s important to not push you and your harvest crew too hard. Take a break, eat some dinner, catch a few Zzz’s and come back refreshed and ready to roll. You don’t need anyone falling asleep on the job! Plus, as visibility goes down with the sun, it’s best to remember your mom’s wisdom of, “Nothing good happens after midnight.”

4. Transport equipment safely.

Moving equipment from field to field, you’ll likely have to use public roads. Before getting started, ensure that all of your lights are working properly. Add slow moving signage and reflective tape to equipment to increase visibility during both day and evening.

5. Stay safe around silos.

Harvest safety doesn’t stop at the edge of the field. Large amounts of grain = large amounts of hazards. The Grain Handling Safety Coalition states that flowing grain can trap someone standing on top of the grain in just 4 to 5 seconds and can completely cover a person in grain in about 22 seconds. Always follow proper protocol with grain bins to avoid a potentially fatal entrapment.

By making safety a priority now, these reminders will become second nature by harvest. Take the time to put safety first—it will always be worth it.

BW Fusion wishes all of our growers a safe, plentiful harvest season!