Injury Prevention - Safety During Fall Harvest

This harvest season, safety should be a priority within the farm operation. Consider that it is a time that involves long hours and the need for multiple pieces of farm equipment working simultaneously to complete a crop harvest. The continuous activity, diminished daylight and stresses that can be associated with harvest can often lead to agricultural related injuries. Common injuries during fall harvest include slips, trips and falls; blunt trauma incidents; sprains / strains; and injuries due to fatigue.  Some simple ways to reduce the risk of an injury during harvest include:

  • To reduce fatigue, try to get enough sleep.  This is your body’s time to rest.
  • Set a pace for yourself, and plan out your day’s activities.
  • Take short breaks throughout the day.  Get out of the combine or truck for a few minutes, and do something to get away from the equipment and revitalize.
  • Follow the procedures in the operator’s manual of equipment for safe operation, maintenance, and trouble shooting
  • Keep equipment properly maintained and check all guards are in position and correctly fitted before starting work.
  • Ensure equipment has adequate lighting for working in the dark. Increase caution when working in early morning or late evening when daylight is diminished.
  • Maintain 3 points of contact when mounting or dismounting equipment.
  • (1 hand and 2 feet) or (2 hands and 1 foot)
  • Ensure that hand holds or railings are in safe operating condition.
  • Exercise caution when steps or walking surfaces are wet or dirty.
  • Avoid jumping off of the last step and anticipate changes in ground elevation or rough terrain when dismounting from the last step.
  • Be alert to you surroundings. Know where equipment is being positioned and be observant to individuals who may be walking around equipment.
  • When working with others around equipment, maintain eye contact and communicate your intentions with the other person.
  • Use Personal Protective Equipment when appropriate (ear plugs, safety glasses, gloves, etc..).
  • Utilize respiratory protection such as an N95 respirator in dusty environments.
  • Utilize safe travel routes between fields, and take into account potential problems with automobile traffic and narrow roadways. Use escort vehicles when needed.

For more information about the OSU Ag Safety visit http://www.agsafety.osu.edu or contact Kent McGuire, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at mcguire.225@osu.edu or 614-292-0588.

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About the C.O.R.N. Newsletter

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.