(Posted Fri. Apr 6th, 2012)
Apr. 6: With planting across much of the Midwest set to begin within the next week, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers to take time to review proper safety procedures.
“Part of maintaining and increasing opportunities for corn farmers includes helping ensure that everyone in our community remembers the importance of safety, especially during the extremely active planting and harvest seasons,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “While a good part of planting safety is based in common sense, it is imperative to ensuring that farmers have a successful, secure season.”
First, farmers should remember to check safety equipment and ensure it is in proper working order. Devices such as fire extinguishers should be thoroughly inspected prior to any active period, such as planting or harvest. By maintaining safety equipment, farmers can best make certain that, should an emergency occur, they are fully prepared.
Next, it is essential that farmers utilize protective gear, including goggles and gloves. Especially when handling chemicals, goggles and gloves provide the best defense against injury should an accident or spill occur. Taking the time to don these articles can save important, yet often vulnerable, hands and eyes from severe, potentially life-altering, injury.
Farmers should also make certain to carefully watch for pinch points while hooking up farm equipment. The potential for injury increases as tired or hurried workers hastily attempt to attach implements to tractors or perform similar tasks. By simply taking the time to pay careful attention to the task and monitor for areas of the machinery which could potentially pinch a hand or fingers, farmers can greatly reduce risks.
Working through exhaustion can increase the likelihood of a variety of other injuries also. While driving equipment, farmers should take breaks, getting out of the tractor cab and moving about for several minutes, every few hours. Doing so will decrease the risk of falling asleep at the wheel and of other health problems associated with spending long time periods in a sedentary position. If extreme sleepiness comes on while driving, it is strongly suggested that the person operating equipment return from the fields and rest immediately.
Finally, it is important to stretch prior to beginning any sort of vigorous farm activity. The many tasks involved in the planting season require a significant amount of lifting, which should always be done at the knees, and other athletic motions. By stretching, farmers can prevent pulls and soreness that could slow down progress down the road.