FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Farmers are already moving equipment on roads, harvesting their crop, and hauling it to elevators. Over the next few weeks and months they’ll be working longer hours—starting their days before sunrise without resting until long after sunset. The pressure to keep going can be intense and can lead to accidents, injuries and even death.
COUNTRY Financial® urges farmers to take extra caution when out on the road or in their fields and to keep a close watch on their health. The number of accidents and deaths are disturbing; however, much can be done to curb them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the leading sources of youth ag-related deaths include machinery (23 percent), motor vehicles and ATVs (19 percent) and drowning (16 percent).
The following are some easy tips farmers can follow to be safe.
- Maintain your equipment. Most farm accidents and deaths involve machinery. Make sure your equipment is maintained according to the manufacturers’ recommendations.
- Avoid driving machinery on roads at dawn and dusk. Most accidents happen during these times of day. The morning and afternoon/evening hours are also peak commuting times for drivers heading to and from work which only increases the chances of accidents.
- Tell family and helping hands where you’ll be working and when. Let others know where you are. Also, have a cell phone or two-way radio on you at all times in case of emergencies or accidents. Keep your electronics charged and on the ready. Plan to communicate at set times of the day to ensure everyone is safe and okay.
- Get plenty of rest and take frequent breaks. Drink plenty of fluids frequently and have healthy snacks on hand to keep your energy levels up. Accidents are more likely to happen once fatigue sets in.
- Familiarize yourself with how your prescriptions and over the counter medications affect reaction time. Some medications and machinery don’t mix. Consult your doctor if your medications make you feel drowsy or impair your ability to safely operate your equipment.
- Know your limitations. Don’t push your mind and body past safe, healthy limits. Know when to stop for the day and when to stay in bed if you feel sick.
- Keep combines and tractors clean and lubricated. Avoid fires by cleaning off your equipment each day and following the manufacturer’s lubrication schedule.
Farmers should make safety a priority. Make sure to follow maintenance schedules, don’t take shortcuts if equipment breaks down, and make sure your equipment is visible on the road. Check your lights, slow-moving vehicle emblems and reflective tape, ensuring they’re more visible to other drivers.
–Joe Easley, COUNTRY Financial