Both before and during the spring planting season, keep safety top of mind. In the rush to the field, it’s tempting to take shortcuts and sadly, much too easy to forget an important task or practice risky behavior.
Observe these safety tips for a safer, less stressful planting season.
Check All Equipment
This is a task that can be done well in advance and is one of the most important. According to ISU Extension and Outreach, nearly half of all Iowa farm deaths result from working around equipment. Before heading to the field, check all equipment parts including safety guards, lights, hazard signs and any other necessary components. If you are planning to use a new or unfamiliar piece of equipment, read the safety details in the operator manual. Before moving equipment, especially if you will be on the road, lock down all moving parts, including hydraulics.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Before you begin planting, refresh your memory on any hazards present in each field. Also be aware of all utility lines and have a spotter check as you move equipment to ensure it will not accidentally come into contact with the line. If it does make contact, don’t leave your cab. Call your electric cooperative for assistance. When you are on the road, be aware of traffic ahead and behind you, as well as any vehicles coming toward you on the opposite side of the road.
Use Extra Care When Working with Chemicals
Anhydrous and other farm chemicals are dangerous, and exposure to various chemicals can cause severe burns, nausea, headaches and possibly even cancer. To protect yourself, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, a mask and a hat and protective glasses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the chemicals you use.
Take Care of Yourself
The rush of getting the field work done when the soil and weather are favorable can lead to working long, hard hours. It’s important that you get enough rest so you remain clear-headed and can cope with any dangerous situations that may arise. In addition, take stretch breaks, use ergonomics when lifting or performing any repetitive movements and take time to hydrate and eat.