With spring planting right around the corner here are a few safety tips to help you stay safe this spring:
- Wear your Seat Belt: Tractor-related injuries, primarily rollovers, account for 40% of farm-related fatalities. You may walk away a little battered and bruised, but you’ll walk away.
- Use Safety Lighting and Markings: Ensure all headlights, flashing warning lights and turn signals are in good working order. Have a clean, non-faded, slow-moving vehicle sign on your equipment. Clean off the headlights, tail lights, turn signals and SMV (slow-moving vehicle) sign before going on the roadway.
- Practice Good Roadway Etiquette: Be a good neighbor and pull over to let cars pass you, but never wave them around. Let them make the decision on when it’s safe to pass.
- Entering Fields: Before entering a field, look for the best available entrance. Always try to enter a field “square;” entering at an angle can increase the chances for the vehicle to roll over. Know the location of power lines to prevent entanglement and keep at least 10-foot clearance from equipment and lines.
- Be Alert: Be aware of catch basins, washouts and groundhog holes that may make a vehicle unstable. Whenever spraying chemicals; be aware of your surroundings. Ensure that no people, pets or susceptible plants are downwind, causing a spray drift problem.
- Protect Yourself and Others: Handling chemicals can be dangerous. Ensure all team members wear the appropriate protective equipment, including gloves, safety glasses, chemical resistant boots, aprons, and respirators, as needed for the task.
- Lock it Down: All machinery or equipment moving parts, including hydraulics, should be locked securely in place before traveling on roadways.
- Make Sure your Equipment is in Good Working Condition: Ensure that all protective guards and shields are securely in place. You should never clean, oil or adjust equipment while the machine is operating.
- Don’t Rely on Hydraulics: Secure booms or parts that rely on hydraulics with another support system during maintenance.
- Stay Alert and get Some Sleep: Fatigue, drowsiness and illness can lead to mishaps in the field. Drink plenty of water and eat properly. Take breaks for your mind and your body.
- Know Where you are: Make sure you are in the correct field, spraying the right pesticide, at the correct rate, on the right crop.
Please, follow these tips and a have a safe spring.