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Nebraska agencies caution safety for farmers

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Farm Safety

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the agricultural sector is one of the most dangerous industries in America.

As harvesting season inches closer, farmers are urged to take safety measures.

So the Nebraska Corn Board, NCB, and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, NECGA, have released a statement about the importance of safety.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists agriculture as one of the most dangerous industries in America.

More than 2 million workers are employed full-time in production agriculture, which does not account for part-time help or family members who also live and work on farms.

In 2019, more than 500 reported fatalities agricultural workers were reported.

Accidents on the farm are not exclusive to the harvest season which means it is important to be mindful of safety precautions year-round in the agricultural industry.

With changing weather and field conditions, more machinery and manpower comes the higher likelihood of an accident taking place.

Farmers in rural areas are encouraged to consider all variables when conducting their work.

The NCB and NECGA have released tips for the farmers harvesting this fall.

They include:

Equipment Safety

  • Be careful when approaching harvest equipment. Approach from the front and gain eye contact with the operator before approaching.
  • Ensure the harvesting equipment is fully stopped and disengaged before climbing onto a vehicle.
  • Do not place yourself near any unguarded or otherwise running machinery.
  • Avoid pinch points between equipment – such as tractors with grain wagons. Visibility can be limited and serious injury can occur.

Entanglement Hazard

  • Entanglement hazards can happen very quickly.
  • Do not ever try to unplug any equipment without disengaging power and removing energy from the equipment.
  • Never pull or try to remove plugged plants from an operating machine.
  • Always keep shields in place to avoid snags and entanglement when working around equipment.

Fall Hazard

  • Be careful climbing on and off equipment.
  • Be alert and extremely careful when working in wet or slippery conditions.
  • Keep all walkways and platforms open and free of tools, dust, debris or other obstacles. Clean all walkways and platforms before use.
  • Wear clothing that is well fitting and not baggy or loose. Also wear proper non-slip, closed toe shoes.
  • Use grab bars when mounting or dismounting machinery. Face machinery when dismounting and never jump from equipment.
  • Never dismount from a moving vehicle.

Fire Prevention

  • Carry a fire extinguisher with you in your vehicle (A-B-C, 5 or 10 pound).
  • Remove dust and buildup from equipment. Check bearings regularly to prevent overheating and chance of fire.

Grain Wagon Safety

  • Be careful to monitor grain wagon weight to never exceed maximum weight limits. As weight increases, grain wagons can be more difficult to control.
  • Load grain wagons evenly to distribute weight to prevent weaving or instability across the grain wagon.
  • Inspect grain wagon tires and replace any worn or cracked tires.

Grain Bin Safety

  • If entering a bin, wear a harness attached to a secure rope.
  • Never work alone.
  • Never allow children to get too close or inside the bin.
  • Wear a dust filter or respirator when working in bins.
  • Stay out of bins when equipment is running.

“As farmers, we’re often at the mercy of Mother Nature when we’re harvesting our crops,” said Jay Reiners NCB chairman. “When we have good conditions, we want to get as much done as possible which makes it easy to get in a hurry and neglect safety. However, we encourage farmers to take that extra second for safety because extra time and caution can really save lives.”

Farmers should not be the only ones cognizant during harvest times.

People traveling through rural areas during this time should be aware of traffic jams and farming equipment.

For more information on farm safety during this time, visit the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety at necasag.org.

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