Harvesting Safety: Precautions for agricultural workers

Nov 01, 2019

Harvesting equipment is some of the most dangerous machinery you will encounter on the job. You may be less familiar with the seasonal equipment that is used only several days of the year, and you may not be completely aware of the risks associated with harvesting tasks. Before the harvest, familiarize yourself with the equipment and remember these hazard prevention precautions:

Prepare your equipment for the harvest during the off-season to ensure it is in proper working order before you begin.
  • Before the season begins, review operation manuals and maintenance guidelines for all machinery.
  • Always check that all guards and shields are secured.
  • Inspect the fields for changes since the last harvest, including excess debris, limbs or driving hazards such as holes and ditch formations.
  • Remove items that pose hazards such as stumps and stones, and clearly mark hazard areas that cannot be removed.
  • Carefully plan your harvest to drive directly up and down steep hills to prevent overturns.
  • Clean hydraulic hoses and repair any damages before beginning the season.
  • Check the slip clutch, roll scraper and rear gate latch to make sure these parts are adjusted properly.
  • Inspect all machines to ensure they are properly set up. For instance, a 540-rpm mower should not be connected to a 1,000-rpm power take-off (PTO). Operating a mower at excessively high speeds can cause machine malfunctions and injuries to the driver from falling debris.
Check lights and warning reflectors on all equipment. Also clean the slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem on the rear of all vehicles to ensure that it is visible to others.

Information provided by USI Insurance Services

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