A message from the Putnam County Purdue Extension:
It’s harvest time in Indiana and that means the roads will contain more slow moving vehicles, the roadsides will become vacant, and many farmers and farm families will be putting in long hours. As the hustle and bustle of harvest occurs, remember that there is no room for forgetting the importance of safety or of sleep.
When traveling down the road, remember to be a good citizen. Farmers should make sure their equipment has working lights (front, rear, and turn signals) and they have a slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign posted where everyone can see it. Any vehicle that operates at less than 25 miles per hour is required to have a SMV sign on it. If you come up on a vehicle with a SMV sign (red triangle with orange edges), keep a safe distance between you and the farm equipment so you are able to stop quickly if the need arises. Farmers should make sure their SMV signs are in good condition and can easily be seen. When traveling on the road, farmers should turn on their hazard lights to help notify other drivers they are there.
With all the hustle and bustle going on, it is easy for farmers to get distracted and not pay attention to the small things. However, by not paying attention, a tragedy can occur. Farmers need to ensure that all safety locks and safety equipment are present before starting up the tractor or combine. Safety locks are there for a reason and it isn’t to slow you down. Additionally, make sure your rollover protective structures are on your tractors and that all equipment shields are in place. If you break down and have to remove the shield to make the repair, remember to put it back in place before starting the machine up.
Not all farm accidents occur when operating or working on equipment. Accidents can occur when a farmer is working in or around a grain bin. In instances like that, a farmer can become entrapped by the flowing grain. Therefore, it is important when working with flowing grain that you have someone else with you who can contact emergency personal if needed. Similarly, children and teenagers should not be allowed in grain bins where they are exposed to this dangerous atmosphere. Grain entrapment is a serious issue that has been publicized heavily and it is important that individuals take precautions to prevent this from happening.
Farming is a dangerous occupation but one that is needed to help support the world. By having patience, farmers and non-farming individuals can help improve the safety of our roads this time of year. Additionally, farmers need to ensure that someone is aware of where they are working and what they are doing, that they have a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher, and stop working when they are tired so they can help improve their chances of experiencing a safe harvest season.
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