Making Farm Safety a Top Priority
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One of the biggest threats for potential injury to farmers is around farm machinery, especially machinery that has what is called “pinch points”. A “pinch point” is an area where rotating parts move together with at least one of the parts rotating in a circular motion. These rotating parts can operate at a high rate of speed and have the potential to cause serious injury. Many pieces of farm equipment have pinch points. Chain drives, belt drives, gears, pulley drives, sprockets, and PTO shafts are very common on farms and all carry the potential for injury.
Serious injury can quickly occur around farm machinery if a person’s clothes or extremities accidentally brush against a chain or belt and become entangled. This can occur very quickly and all farm workers, especially youth, should be fully aware of the potential for injury before coming in contact with farm machinery. Being aware of any moving parts that can present danger and being safe at all times when working with or even near them is vital. Here are a few precautions that should be observed:
- Identify machines with possible “pinch points” and place or maintain obvious warning labels.
- Educate and train everyone who will be using or even near each piece of machinery in how to operate it properly and explain the potential dangers.
- Be sure all safety shields and guards are in place and securely mounted. If a guard or shield becomes worn or breaks off, have it replaced.
- Always turn off any machinery and wait until all moving parts have come to a complete stop before preforming any maintenance.
- Alert everyone in the area when maintenance is taking place on machinery to prevent someone from mistakenly turning the machine back on before the maintenance has been completed.
- Always wear clothes that fit well while operating machinery. Jewelry, drawstrings on hoods, long untied hair, baggy vests, jackets, or even fabrics can easily get caught in machinery.
- Always watch your footing around farm machinery. Movement should be slow and careful, never rushed.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, agriculture is the most dangerous in the country in regards to injury and death. With so much work to be done on the farm every single day, it is easy to forget that safety must be a top priority; however, it only takes a second to get caught in a situation that could cause great bodily harm. Let’s do our very best to stay safe out there and continue to feed the world.