Safety is our top priority. Learn more about what we're doing to foster a philosophy of safety for both our customers and employees.

December Safety Tip: Lifting Precautions for Farm Workers

December 6, 2017 - Your job involves lifting heavy loads and stooping excessively, both of which can cause serious back injury. Back soreness or injury not only interferes with your daily work, it can also affect the rest of your life. Take the following precautions when lifting on the job to avoid back pain or injury.
Lifting Recommendations
  • Whenever possible, keep the load between knee and shoulder level. This will put less strain on your shoulders, neck and back.
  • Add handles to containers to make them easier to carry.
  • Try to carry loads close to your body.
  • Use dollies, pallet trucks or utility carts for heavy items that must be carried more than just a few feet.
  • Use roller conveyors for bags or boxes of vegetables or chemicals that you handle often. These carrying devices will limit the amount of lifting that you need to do. Conveyors are also useful for awkwardly sized or shaped loads that are difficult to lift or carry.
  • Avoid lifting bags or boxes that are heavier than 50 pounds. Either break larger loads down into smaller ones or ask a co-worker to assist you.
  • Always bend at the knees and lift with your legs (rather than bending at the waist, which puts more strain on your back).
Stooped Work Guidelines
Tasks that involve stooping for extended periods of time can place just as much strain on your back as lifting heavy items.
  • Redesign tasks to avoid stooped work when possible.
  • Attach long handles to your tools or use a stool to get lower to the ground.
  • Take short breaks if you must do stooped work to stretch out and walk around. 

Courtesy of CHS, Inc.

Tips for Teens in Agriculture

Every year, thousands of farm workers are injured and hundreds more die in farming accidents. According to the National Safety Council, agriculture is the most hazardous industry in the nation. Be aware of the hazards and safety practices on a farm, especially as a young worker.

Common Hazards
·       Tractors are involved in a high proportion of farm fatalities and injuries.
·       Struck-by – Farm machinery can cause accidents, but you can also get hit by livestock.
·       Chemicals and pesticides can enter your body in many ways, including inhalation, contact with skin and  
        clothes, and accidental ingestion (such as eating with unwashed hands).
·       Organic dust comes from hay, grain, fuel chips, straw and livestock. It includes molds, pollens, bacteria,
        pesticides, chemicals and feed, bedding and animal particles.
·       Overexertion – Prolonged reaching, bending and lifting can lead to muscle aches, strains and sprains.
·       Confined Spaces – You are at risk of being overcome by gases when entering sites without proper
        ventilation, such as a manure pit, silo or grain bin. Workers entering a grain bin being emptied are also at risk
        of being crushed or suffocated by flowing grain.
·       Electrocution is one of the most overlooked hazards of farm work. The most common cause of
        electrocutions are portable grain augers, oversized wagons, large combines and other tall equipment that    
        comes into contact with overhead power lines.
·       Falls are the most common accidents in agriculture. Falls of just 12 feet can kill you. Many occur because of
        slips and trips that can be avoided by wearing proper shoes.

Safety Solutions
·       Receive proper training before operating any machinery.
·       Ensure all loose clothing or long hair has been secured to prevent entanglement in machinery.
·       Use safe practices when hitching and unhitching wagons.
·       Use care and common sense when working with animals. Never try to hurry an angry or aggressive animal.
·       Wash your hands before using the bathroom, applying cosmetics or eating.
·       Wear any provided personal protective equipment (PPE), such as a NIOSH-approved N95 air-purifying disposable particulate respirator,
        especially when working with grains or silage in enclosed areas that may contain dust.
·       Maintain good back posture while working.
·       Take frequent stretch breaks to avoid muscle strain.
·       Never enter a confined space without a respirator before confirming the space has sufficient oxygen, and      
        always have at least one person with you.
·       Watch out for overhead electrical lines. Treat them as though they are bare.
·       Wear shoes and boots with slip-resistant soles and heels. 

Avoiding Farm Machinery Hazards

Even though farm machinery manufacturers try to ensure that their products are safe by equipping them with safety guards, agricultural work presents many hazards. Many times, workers suffer injuries because of human error from taking a shortcut, ignoring warning signs, not paying attention or not following safety rules.

Here are some of the most common farm machinery hazards, as well as several safety recommendations to reduce your risk of injury:

Shear Points and Cutting Points
·       Shear points occur when the edges of two objects move close together and can cut soft material (example: auger).
·       Cutting points occur when an object moves forcefully and is able to cut (example: sickle blade).

To avoid injuries, remain alert while operating machines with shear and cutting points. Also, advise others to watch out because some cutting machinery can throw objects while in use.

Pinch Points
·       Pinch points are created when two rotating objects move closely together, one moving in a circle.
·       Hands and feet can get caught in pinch points, or other body parts can get pulled into pinch points when loose clothing becomes entangled in the machine.

To avoid injuries, wear tight-fitting clothing and never reach over or work near rotating parts. Also, identify places where pinch points can occur and avoid these areas.

Wrap Points
·       When exposed machine parts rotate, they create wrap points. Loose clothing can get caught in the moving parts, and consequently pull workers into the machine.

To avoid injuries, shield potential wrap points before beginning your work. If wrap points cannot be shielded, paint them a bright color to remind yourself that they are there.

Crush Points
·       Crush points occur when objects move toward one another, or one object moves toward a stationary object. Workers can be crushed in between.

Block equipment securely to avoid fatal crushing injuries.

Free-wheeling Parts
·       Some equipment with moving parts continues to spin after being shut off.

To avoid injuries, wait until the machinery has completely stopped before touching it. This can take several minutes.

Hydraulic Systems
·       When servicing, adjusting or replacing parts on machines with hydraulic systems, workers can face high-pressure blasts of hydraulic oil. This can cause injury and/or burns to the skin.

To avoid injuries, do not inspect hydraulic hoses with your hands because the hydraulic fluids can puncture the skin.

Take time to become familiar with the potential hazards of the machinery you work with and remember to always put safety first!

Share the Road


Sunrise Cooperative, Inc. reminds everyone that safety is top priority and this fall harvest is no exception.

As a farmer, here are ways that you can prevent accidents when taking equipment on the roadway for the fall harvest:

  • Display a Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem on the back of all tractors, towed implements, and self-propelled implements.
  • Mark the edges of tractors and equipment with reflective tape.
  • Equipment should be equipped with 2 headlamps and 2 tail lights.
  • Equip any vehicle or towed equipment that is 12 feet or wider with flashing amber lights located on its sides.
  • Avoid moving between fields during high traffic times of the day.
  • If you are traveling a long distance, consider using a pilot car in the front and back of your tractor and equipment.
As a motorist, here are ways that you can prevent accidents when sharing the roadway for the fall harvest:
Know that a SMV symbol indicates that the farm equipment is traveling under 25 miles an hour and it is a warning to slow down by increasing your following distance.
  • When passing farm machinery, proceed with caution by watching vehicles behind you that may also be trying to pass and never pass if there are curves or hills.
  • Do not assume that if a farmer pulls to the right side of the road that they are turning right or letting you pass because the size of farm equipment sometimes requires the farmer to pull to the right side to safely make a left turn.
  • If you are driving in the opposite direction of farm equipment that is wider than the lane, you should pull off the road and stop, allowing the machine to pass.

Safety Team