Hey, let’s be careful out there

There was once a TV cop show called “Hill Street Blues”. On many episodes, one of the cops, a sergeant, would growl to the other cops, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.

I’m reminded of that line now that another harvest is under way. Yes, Agweek readers fully understand the importance of safety. I also know, from personal experience, that harvest can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining —  and that a tired farmer, no matter how experienced and careful, can make mistakes

With that in mind, please look over the following safety tips from South Dakota State University Extension. Most likely you know them all already. But spending a few seconds to refresh your memory can’t hurt and could help.

  1. Make sure all safety guards and retrofits are on the farm machinery.
  2. Follow good crop storage practices to avoid storage bin problems later.
  3. Follow safety recommendations for storage and use of farm chemicals.
  4. Don’t allow extra riders on farm, lawn or recreational equipment that is not designed for it.
  5. Don’t be in a hurry.  It will cost time in the long run.
  6. Make sure field approaches are wide enough for equipment and well-marked.
  7. Make sure all lights on equipment are working and in good condition if night work is planned.
  8. When moving large equipment make sure you know where all power lines are located.
  9. Have spare flashes handy in case of a breakdown on a road.
  10. Take plenty of breaks and get as much rest as possible.
  11. Before moving equipment know where all people are located at and are accounted for.
  12. Never approach equipment without the operator signaling it is okay.
  13. Don’t over ride or disconnect safety switches.

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