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Four Tips to Stay Safe at Harvest Time

Post written by: Brad Wyant, INS, AFIS | Master Underwriter

Westfield_Harvest blogIt’s harvest time and all of your hard work has finally come to fruition. But as the days get shorter and you rush to get crops in during the harvest window, it can be tempting for you and your employees to cut corners.

Here are some of the common accidents that occur during harvest time and how to avoid them.

Worker fatigue

Workers who are on the job from dawn to dusk put themselves and others at heightened risk. They might be weary while operating machinery with blades, belts and other sharp or hot parts and may be rushing to get the job done and go home.

To prevent accidents, resist the urge to work when you are fatigued, and keep tight control of the hours your employees are working. Also be alert for fatigued workers, especially those performing especially hazardous duties, and encourage them to take breaks as needed.

After-dark road accidents

Drivers don’t expect to encounter a poorly lit, slow-moving combine taking up a lane and a half – especially after dark. Try to avoid driving heavy machinery in the dark, even if it’s only for a mile or two, to decrease the risk of a collision. Be sure light bars are functioning properly and travel with a support vehicle when possible.

Combine dust fires

Corn stubble and grain dust accumulate on harvesting machinery, creating the perfect environment for a combustible dust fire. Yes, it will take time you can barely spare, but wash off combustible particulate once a day to avoid buildup. And smoking should be strictly forbidden, as even a small spark can ignite combustible dust under the right circumstances.

Rollover accidents

Again, speed and fatigue can be a lethal combination during harvest time. Tell your team to slow down and be careful while operating machinery. And always make sure your vehicles have full rollover protection.

What about you? Do you have any tips you can share to make harvest time safer? If so, leave your comment below.

Additional resources

For more information, here are links to other several harvest safety resources. Have a safe harvesting!

http://agnr.osu.edu/news/fall-harvest-requires-increased-focus-safety
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/fall_harvest_safety_tips
http://www.netwellness.org/healthtopics/poison/farmer.cfm
http://maumeeag.osu.edu/2011/09/harvest-safety-tips-for-everyone/

To learn more about the type of insurance you’ll need to keep you and your employees protected, contact your independent insurance agent. For a list of agents in your area, click here.

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