Harvest-time safety tips may not be new…but they could save your life

Whether you’re gearing up for your first soybean harvest or your 50th, now is a great time to pause and consider the importance of farm safety.

Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University extension specialist and ag engineer, has heard of way too many accidents related to grain bins and farming equipment. But, he says there are precautions to take to help farmers avoid becoming a safety statistic.

“Grain entrapment is not a new topic, but one that’s important to offer consistent reminders about,” Hellevang says. “At the rate farmers are moving today, it’s all too easy to get sucked into that bin – and once you’re in, it’s like quicksand, even at chest level.”

To prevent this from occurring, Hellevang suggests farmers turn off equipment before entering the bin.

“It’s also wise to have a buddy around – someone to go for help, if need be,” he adds.

Grain bins were intended for the grain to be removed from the middle – but this isn’t always the reality when farmers get busy.

“Removing grain from the sides of a bin cab create a distortion in the loading, possibly causing the bin to collapse,” Hellevang warns. “Farmers can prevent this by checking the manufacturer’s recommendation and familiarizing themselves with what a bin can tolerate.”

Bodily harm isn’t the only danger facing farmers this harvest. In a wet year, mold and fungi can grow on plants, and that can cause respiratory issues. The good news is, once again, these issues are preventable.

“Farmers should wear a face mask to filter out mold spores and fine dust particles,” Hellevang says. “Usually, the most protective ones carry an N95 rating.”

Farm accidents are serious and contribute to agriculture being ranked one of the most dangerous professions in America. But, by keeping safety in mind, farmers can greatly minimize these hazards.

“Make sure everyone around equipment knows what they should be doing and why they should be doing it,” Hellevang advises.

Watch the video for more

In this video, Hellevang explains why safety is more important than ever in a wet season.