Fall harvest season is here for many farmers in Alabama. Farmers across the state are heading to their fields with huge combines and powerful tractors pulling grain wagons.
“This is the most dangerous time of year in farm country, and there is an ever present danger of serious injury or death among agricultural workers,” said Dr. Jesse LaPrade, a farm and green industry safety specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
According to the National Safety Council, nearly 800 fatal injuries occur on U.S. farms and ranches each year. Many incidents happen during the harvest season when farmers work long hours getting their crops from field to market. Most of these incidents are preventable.
LaPrade offered some tips to help farmers stay safe during the autumn harvest.
- Get plenty of rest before and during these long work days.
- Eat hearty, well-balanced meals to keep up your stamina.
- Always let family members know where you will be harvesting each day.
- Conduct an extensive farm machinery safety walk-around before operating the machinery.
- Carry a cell phone or two-way radio for use during an emergency.
- Make sure warning lights are functioning on equipment operating on public highways.
- Never fuel a tractor in an enclosed building or when the engine is hot.
- Use extra caution when transporting machinery over railroad crossings.
- Never carry extra riders on farm tractors and machinery.
- Don’t wear loose fitting clothing that might get caught in machinery.
- Wear hearing protection around noisy farm equipment.