How to Stay Safe During Harvest Time

National Farm Safety & Health Week: Sept. 17-23

To keep farm safety a priority, and with National Farm Safety & Health Week in mind, we offer the following harvest safety tips:

  1. Keep equipment in optimal condition, with routine inspections and maintenance. Examine equipment regularly and keep an inspection/maintenance log.
  2. Replace worn parts to avoid safety risks and downtime.
  3. Examine the terrain before operating farming equipment to inspect for unusual or unexpected sinkholes, drop-offs, slopes, etc. Know what your land has in store for you before heading out.
  4. How to Stay Safe During Harvest TimeSmall tractors require safety measures just as combines do. Tractors should have roll-over protection, especially on terrain with slopes or stream banks, and should not be used on slopes that are too steep.
  5. Do not fuel your equipment in an enclosed building or when the engine is hot.
  6. Do not attempt to fix a moving part of your equipment. Turn off equipment and wait for all parts to stop moving. Entanglement is a high risk and one of the most common causes of farm injury.
  7. You should wear proper PPE, free of loose strings or dangling ties that pose a risk of entanglement. Once again, turn off all equipment (cutter bars, augers, conveyors etc.) before resolving blockages or checking levels.
  8. Practice bin safety when loading or unloading grain. Avoid entering a bin when possible; use a long pole to break up stuck grain and wear a safety harness while working. Have another person nearby to serve as safety guard, observing at all times.
  9. Your equipment should display SMV signs on the back. If you must use public roads to move equipment to and from the fields, have SMV signage on machinery, reflectors, and flag any items that protrude.
  10. How to Stay Safe During Harvest TimeBe aware of state and local regulations regarding transporting various pieces of farm machinery. Equipment operators should observe weight ratings and height restrictions regarding various roadways, bridge crossings and overpasses.
  11. Because another round of spraying often follows harvest, review the Material Safety Data Sheets that list safety gear, hazards, and precautions for the chemicals and pesticides you are applying. Routinely review the pesticide application information you received for your applicator certification, whether for commercial or noncommercial application. See  Respiratory Overview and Pesticide Worker Safety.

(Learn more: National Education Center for Agricultural Safety)