Fall is a time when crop harvests across the country are being brought in and heavy-duty machinery use is in full swing. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, about half of the state’s 500 reported farm machinery and equipment injuries occur each year between August and November. Many of the serious injuries occur when workers are stressed or tired, or when taking shortcuts on routine tasks.
To minimize risks during harvest time, the department recommends that workers:
- Review equipment manuals, as workers may be less knowledgeable with equipment used only a few days each year.
- Perform routine maintenance and replace loose or worn equipment, such as belts and hydraulic lines.
- Make sure all shields, guards and grab bars on platforms are secure.
- Survey fields and mark potential problems such as large stones, stumps or other obstacles.