Released: June 08, 2004
Think Safety During Harvest
MANHATTAN, Kan. Ė Itís wheat harvest time in Kansas and the hectic pace makes it easy to forget about safety. Sound personal judgment, or a lack of it, will play a major role in whether or not the 2004 harvest is completed safely, according to safety specialists with the Extension Farm Safety Program at Kansas State University.
They offered these tips for maintaining safety during wheat harvest:
* Recognize hazards. Make sure that anyone operating the combine has been trained to use it and is aware of potential hazards. Review the operatorís manual and warning decals ahead of harvest.
* Keep current with routine machinery maintenance. Make sure all safety shields and guards are in place before harvest begins. Keep up with routine lubrication and check belts and chains regularly.
* Before approaching machinery for maintenance or inspection, make sure it is shut down with the engine off, the key is removed, and all moving parts have stopped completely.
* Keep bystanders away from harvesting equipment and never allow extra riders. One seat means one rider.
* Share the road. When it is necessary to move heavy, slow-moving equipment on public roads, try to pick a time with light traffic flow to minimize contact with traffic. Follow all traffic laws and make sure all the appropriate safety lights work properly and safety reflectors are visible to other motorists. Always use a Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem on vehicles that travel less than 25 miles per hour.
* Be physically and mentally prepared before operating the combine or truck. Fatigue, stress, and worry can impair the ability to make rational decisions.
* Practice safe work habits all the time. Set a good example for others to follow.
It takes time to prevent accidents, but it takes only seconds for a farm accident to happen. Farmers can do their part to make this yearís harvest accident free, the specialists said. Plan ahead. Think safety first.
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.