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Make Harvest Safety Your Top Priority

Keeping your equipment in peak condition can help ease the stress that often leads to harvest accidents and injuries.

From the header on your combine to the service trailer behind your pickup and from the overhead wires across the end of your driveway to the soles on your work boots, nearly every aspect of harvest contributes to your safety. Make sure you give each detail the attention it deserves.

We all know farming is a dangerous profession. The busyness of the harvest season, coupled with so many moving parts on more pieces of equipment, amplifies the risks. Generally, most farm injuries during this time of year sort into two categories: entanglement and falls. And although we tend to hear more about entanglement injury, reports from the Iowa Department of Health show you’re more likely to be injured falling off the combine.1

Iowa State University Extension specialists offer these tips to protect against falls:

  • Keep platforms free of tools or other objects.
  • Frequently clean steps and other areas where workers stand to service, mount, dismount or operate the machine.
  • Wear well-fitting, comfortable shoes with non-slip soles.
  • Use grab bars when mounting or dismounting machinery.
  • Be sure your position is stable before you work on a machine.
  • Recognize that fatigue, stress, drugs, alcohol or age may affect stability.

Safety resources

Consult your land-grant university for additional safety tips and recommendations. The National Ag Safety Database offers an extensive list of farm safety topics, publications and information.

Preventive measures

Take direct steps, such as ensuring safety shields are in place, to prevent accidents and injuries. Make sure equipment is in top working order. Preventing breakdowns saves time and eases stress. Do whatever you can — stay current on routine maintenance, replace worn parts, stock replacement parts — to reduce potential downtime. Your Case IH dealer can help with maintenance schedules and supplies. It’s critical that you stay alert and maintain focus. Eat right, get enough rest and recognize when you need a break.

Remember: No matter how hard you work, harvest won’t stay on schedule if you or those helping you are unable to get the work done. Lead by example. Avoid shortcuts. And take time to appreciate the season and enjoy the results of your hard work.


Harvest Productivity

1Hanna HM, Schwab, CV, Miller LJ. Harvest safety yields big dividends. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Safe Farm website. Published October 1997. Accessed September 21, 2016.
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