Let’s all prac­tice farm safety

The Boyertown Area Times - - LOCAL NEWS - Penn State Ex­ten­sion

Agri­cul­ture has the du­bi­ous distinc­tion of be­ing one of the most dan­ger­ous oc­cu­pa­tions in the United States. With train­ing, com­mon sense and safety knowl­edge, that distinc­tion can be changed. Farm­ers, and oth­ers work­ing in agri­cul­ture, need to be aware of, pro­mote and prac­tice safety mea­sures on a year-round ba­sis.

Take ad­van­tage of farm safety train­ing when it’s of­fered at farm ma­chin­ery/equip­ment train­ings spon­sored by lo­cal/area equip­ment deal­er­ships, Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion, or farm or­ga­ni­za­tions. Ad­di­tion­ally, it is ad­vis­able to sim­ply slow down, as­sess any pos­si­ble safety chal­lenges, and ap­ply a healthy dose of com­mon sense, ma­tu­rity and a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity to any safety sit­u­a­tion.

Here is a list of 15 safety re­minders that all farms, farm­ers and farm fam­i­lies should ob­serve. It’s only a par­tial list­ing. You may want to add your own safety re­minders to this list.

1. Farm­ers need to do daily safety and main­te­nance checks on all trac­tors used to per­form farm work.

2. Farm trac­tors have one seat. This means one op­er­a­tor and NO ex­tra rid­ers on fend­ers, hitches or in front-end loader buck­ets.

3. All farm trac­tors and any at­tached or trail­ing farm equip­ment must dis­play the tri­an­gu­lar, blaze orange Slow Mov­ing Ve­hi­cle (SMV) em­blem.

4. All op­er­a­tors of newer trac­tors equipped with a 2-point or 4-point ROPS (Rollover Pro­tec­tive Struc­ture), must also wear the seat­belt pro­vided in or­der to be pro­tected in a back­ward or side­ways flip.

5. Be cau­tious around all live­stock that have given birth.

6. Be aware of po­ten­tially deadly silo gas when chop­ping and plac­ing corn silage in an up­right silo.

7. Be aware of the po­ten­tially deadly out­come when work­ing around or in a grain bin or stor­age.

8. Never trust any hy­drauli­cally-raised equip­ment, such as front-end load­ers, dump trail­ers, etc.

9. Be aware of steep hill­sides when har­vest­ing any crop on the farm.

10. Never step-over a run­ning PTO shaft.

11. Be sure all PTO shields and other safety shields are in good re­pair and prop­erly se­cured on all farm equip­ment.

12. When work has to be per­formed on a farm im­ple­ment, be sure that the PTO has been shut off and that all ma­chine move­ment has ceased.

13. Al­ways wait for a hot en­gine to cool be­fore at­tempt­ing to re-fuel a trac­tor.

14. Never start a trac­tor in a closed garage or shed. The car­bon monox­ide (CO) threat can cause a hu­man and/or an­i­mal fa­tal­ity. Keep well-ven­ti­lated.

15. Be sure to match farm equip­ment/im­ple­ments to a trac­tor that is com­pat­i­ble to that equip­ment/im­ple­ment.

Con­sumers across the globe are blessed with ded­i­cated, car­ing farm­ers. We rely on this small num­ber of farm­ers to keep us feed. It is best when these food pro­duc­ers stay safe by mak­ing good de­ci­sions when work­ing with their farm ma­chines and live­stock. We sug­gest a large dose of re­spect for the po­ten­tial for a farm ac­ci­dent, and con­tin­u­ous vig­i­lance for the many and di­verse farm safety chal­lenges.

Re­mem­ber, farm safety is no ac­ci­dent.

Penn State Ex­ten­sion Le­high County is host­ing a Trac­tor Safety class this com­ing spring. This course is sched­uled for March 22, 25, 29, April 1, 5, 8, 12, and 22. The Wed­nes­day ses­sions are class­room based and will run from 7 to 9 p.m. with the Satur­day ses­sions run­ning from noon to 2 p.m. Watch your Ex­ten­sion news source for ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion on this well re­ceived farm safety op­por­tu­nity.

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