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.