The Southwest Booster
Maintenance: Long-term Investment on the Farm
Equipment maintenance can be a thankless chore and, even if done correctly, one that doesn’t pay immediate apparent dividends. Done improperly, or not at all, however, it can be the difference between safe operation and injury or fatality.
National Farm Safety Week is March 14 – 20, and the Canada Safety Council is calling attention to the need for proper and regular farm equipment maintenance.
“Machine malfunctions can be costly in a few different ways,” said Gareth Jones, President and CEO of the Canada Safety Council. “The financial cost of having broken machines out of operation is well known, of course, but the safety cost to yourself, your family, and your workers makes routine maintenance a vital aspect on any healthy farm.”
Here are a few tips to help keep you safe while maintaining your farm equipment.
First, make sure you’re familiar with the equipment you’ll be working on. If you’re unsure about how to operate the equipment properly or how to use all the controls and safety features, ask for help or take a training course.
Always turn the equipment off and put it in neutral before performing any maintenance. This will prevent the equipment from accidentally starting up while you’re working on it. Make sure the equipment is blocked or chocked to prevent it from moving while you’re doing your work.
Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working on farm equipment. This includes safety tools like hard hats, goggles, gloves, and work boots.
Make sure you’re checking equipment regularly for worn or damaged parts, replacing them as needed.
Also, make sure you’re cleaning and lubricating equipment as per the manufacturer’s instructions, to keep it running smoothly and efficiently.
When inspecting for damage, focus specifically on:
- corrosion near battery terminals,
- wear and tear on chains, belts and moving parts,
- burnt out or damaged bulbs in headlights and warning lights, and
- tire deflation, and rust or looseness around the wheel bearings.
Finally, always be aware of the safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Review the operator’s manual and follow all the safety instructions provided by the manufacturer.
By following these tips, you can help keep yourself and others safe while maintaining your farm equipment.
About the Canada Safety Council
The Canada Safety Council is a national, non-government, charitable organization dedicated to safety. Our mission is to lead in the national effort to reduce preventable deaths, injuries and economic loss in public and private places throughout Canada.