Safety During Fall Harvest
A flurry of activity, weather conditions, long hours, and large machinery combine to make the fall harvest a potentially dangerous time. Operator stress or error are the cause of most harvest accidents.
Kent McGuire is an ag health and safety coordinator at Ohio State University. He says to remember that YOU are your most important tool, so know your limits both physical and emotional, and take care of yourself.
"To reduce fatigue, try to get enough sleep. That’s your body’s time to rest. Pace yourself and plan your day out the best you can, and take short breaks throughout the day," recommends McGuire. "Take five-minutes to get out of a piece of equipment and take a short walk, or just something to get your mind and your body away from the piece of equipment to recharge yourself, and minimize that fatigue factor."
While you’re walking around, McGuire says to look over the machine for any trouble spots. But make sure everything is in place before you hop back in the seat.
"Doing some of those maintenance checks and you’re removing guards and shields, make sure that you put those guards and shields back on after you’re done inspecting or doing some sort of maintenance on the equipment," he says. "Those guards and shields are there to protect you and anybody that might be working around the piece of equipment."
There is probably a crew of people helping in the field, so pay attention to your surroundings and any individuals walking around. Also, keep a jug of water with you to stay hydrated and have someone bring you healthy meals and snacks to boost your energy.