Tips for a Safe Harvest Season

For many growers, harvest is just around the corner.  It’s also a pressure-packed time for growers, and it’s easy to take shortcuts that can be hazardous to the grower and others in their community. Before growers get the combines rolling in the fields, it’s important to think about safety. Matthew Brandt, North America Agronomic System Lead for Bayer is helping remind growers of some important safety tips to keep in mind during this hectic season.

“Growing up on a farming operation and still active in the farming operation today, harvest has always been one of my favorite times of year, but it’s also an incredibly busy time of year. From getting equipment ready and keeping it maintained throughout the season to transporting equipment to and from the field and moving grain from the field to storage or to market, there’s a ton of things to do in a short period of time. And at Bayer we really just want to remind growers to be safe this harvest season.”

Brandt says it is especially important to keep safety top of mind when moving equipment during harvest.

“One of the more challenging parts that I see in today’s harvest is getting equipment to and from the fields. A lot of our customers have gotten bigger, they cover a greater geographic area, which means more time moving that equipment from farm to field. The good thing is today’s equipment is much more advanced in terms of warning systems and lighting available, including the hazard lights and signage. But, it’s not just the operator of the equipment that we have to worry about, there’s a lot of other people on the road that are in a hurry and trying to get to where they’re wanting to get to. It’s important at all times to be aware of your surroundings, and sleep plays a big factor in the operator’s ability to protect themselves and operate the equipment defensively. We encourage growers to take time to rest during this extremely busy season for both their health and for their safety.”

Grain bin safety is extremely important this time of year, as well. He says make sure you take proper precautions when working in and around grain bins and grain transport equipment.

“It’s really important to exercise caution, especially around grain bins slowing down, taking proper safety precautions, and always having someone with you or someone that knows where you are working, whenever you’re working with grain storage. We want to remind growers to stay out of grain bins, wagons, grain trucks, and other unloading equipment whenever it’s running. Growers should also not enter a grain bin by themselves, there should be at least two people on site when working around the grain bin and anybody that goes into the grain bin should be wearing a safety harness of some sort to protect themselves. Also, one thing that I think we often forget during the busy season is something as simple as shutting off the power and locking out unloading equipment before you enter a grain bin to prevent any unintentional starting of that equipment while the individuals in the grain bin.”

As you start harvest season, Brandt offers these additional tips to keep you, your family and farm employees safe.

“One thing I always recommend to growers is if you’re working alone, make sure family and friends know where you’re working and how to reach you. I’ve experienced that myself where my cell phone may not have great coverage in all the areas that I travel or all the fields that I go to, and having someone that knows where you are and what you’re doing, and when maybe they should expect to see you again, is a really good safety tip, in case something goes wrong. The other big thing to keep in mind is when a project is too big for one person, don’t attempt it alone. In this busy time of year we want to keep things moving and if a project is too big, don’t be shy from seeking help from an employee, a family member or neighbor, if it’s too heavy or too dangerous to tackle by yourself.”