Put safety as a top priority this spring when planting

A wet, cold start to the 2013 season has delayed field work and producers will want to work long hours to get everything planted in a timely basis. Fatigue and stress can lead to dangerous situations, so take these steps to ensure a safe planting season.

We are getting a late start on planting in 2013. Everyone is anxious to get in the fields because there is a lot of work that needs to get done. Each day planting is delayed will reduce yield potential and, ultimately, net profits. Long hours are almost unavoidable. Fatigue and stress can reduce reaction time and hinder judgment. Agriculture is already a dangerous occupation. Plan now to improve your safety this spring. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Have realistic daily goals for what you can get done.
  • Communicate. Make certain your employees know that safety is a priority and that they fully understand your plans and daily strategies.
  • Take breaks. Get out of the cab and walk around.
  • Eat. Don’t skip meals. Drink plenty of water.
  • Take additional care while moving equipment on public road ways.
  • Use amber flashing lights and perhaps a trail vehicle following within 50 feet of the tractor.
  • Always mount clean and highly reflective Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblems on all tractors and implements transported on public roads.
  • Check to see if traffic is backing up behind you and pull over periodically when it is safe for cars to pass.
  • Never travel left of the center of the road after dark when visibility is poor, or when approaching the top of a hill or a curve.
  • Be certain all shields are in place and safety devices are operational.
  • When working at night, use well lit equipment and rested operators.
  • Add more help. Have two shifts if necessary. Have part-time people available and trained.
  • Enjoy and appreciate your employees and the opportunity to farm each day.
  • Remember that neither you nor your employees are superheroes.

Additional farm safety tips are available at the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety website. Michigan State University Extension educators have further educational resources regarding farm safety including pesticide applicator training materials.

Plan now to have a safe planting time. Your family would rather have a healthy you around for another day than another bushel of grain.

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