Keep safety first during stress of harvest

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

The weather has been just wonderful to keep our harvest moving along and hopes are that we keep the favorable weather coming our way. It sounds though that the weather experts may have some other ideas in the coming week or so for some showers. Frost has not been a big issue. There has been some patchy frost to this point but nothing real significant. The weather experts note we typically see our first freeze about now. It appears the first freeze may come sometime next week at least to some of Ohio which again will be 1-2 weeks late.

For the week of October 23-30 expect temperatures to drop with a blast of chilly autumn weather. Temperatures may end up a few degrees below normal to normal. Precipitation will occur early and late in the week. Overall, rainfall will average near normal from 0.25 to 1.00 inches.

Fingers crossed it will be minimal and we can get a lot harvested over the next three or four days.

In the meantime, harvest continues moving along and reports of yields have been quite favorable.

Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator reminds us of continued safety during harvest. With decreased daylight hours and just the overall stress of harvest it is important to keep safety in the forefront when operating or working around the combine and combine safety starts with the operator. Combine operators should consider these guidelines during harvest:

– Follow the procedures in the operator’s manual for safe operation, maintenance, dealing with blockages and other problems.

– Check all guards are in position and correctly fitted before starting work. Do not run the combine with the guards raised or removed.

– Keep equipment properly maintained and ensure equipment has adequate lighting for working in low light conditions

– Reduce the risk of falls by ensuring access ladders, steps, or standing platforms are clean and free of mud or debris.

– Never carry passengers on the combine unless seated in a passenger seat and do not mount or dismount the combine when it is moving.

– Make sure to keep cab windows clean and mirrors are properly adjusted for proper operator vision.

– Keep the cab door shut to keep out dust and reduce noise. Ensure any pedestrians are clear of the combine before moving.

– Be alert to your surroundings. Know where other equipment is being positioned and be observant to individuals who may be walking around the equipment. Maintain eye contact and communicate your intentions with the other person.

– When unloading the combine on the move, you will need to plan and coordinate your movements carefully to match the tractor/grain cart working with you.

– Remember the hazards posed by straw choppers and spreaders – allow adequate rundown time before approaching the rear of the combine.

– Do not operate the machine beyond its capacity or overload it.

– Regularly clean straw and chaff deposits from the engine compartment and around belts or pulleys to reduce risk of fire.

– Carry suitable fire extinguishers. These should be regularly checked and properly maintained/ serviced.

– Use extreme caution when working around overhead power lines, especially when extending the unloading auger or bin extensions.

– Follow correct procedures when transferring the header on and off the header cart, or working under the header (use the manufacturer’s safety supports).

– Utilize safe travel routes between fields, and take into account overhead height and roadway width clearances.

– Pre-plan road travel to account for potential problems with automobile traffic. Utilize escort vehicles when needed.

I always love fall weather. I think it is my most favorite time of year. Fall brings with it a lot of outdoor activities that can sometimes include bonfires.

Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader, reminds us that fire safety is important — even at a bonfire. Follow these recommendations to make your next bonfire safe and enjoyable for all:

• Use a fire pit approximately 12-18 inches deep, as opposed to just building a fire on the ground. Fire pits should be, at least 2 feet wider than the size of the fire, and circled with stones or bricks.

• Find a safe place to build your fire pit away from buildings, parked cars, overhead trees, and other fuel sources.

• Use a small amount of wood combined with kindling materials to start the fire. Never use starter fluids or fuel to light the bonfire.

• Don’t let the flames get out of control.

• Have at least one type of extinguisher on hand. This could be a 5-gallon bucket of water, a bucket of sand, or a charged ABC fire extinguisher.

• Have a shovel nearby to keep hot embers in check, and to help extinguish the fire at the end of the evening.

• Children should always be under adult supervision.

• Fireworks and alcohol do not mix well at bonfires, and should not be allowed near the open flame.

• Keep a first aid kit on hand for minor injuries like splinters, scratches, and burns.

• Keep a cell phone on hand for calling 9-1-1 for larger injuries or to report an out-of-control fire.

L. Tony Nye is Ohio State University Extension ANR Educator, Clinton County.

Tony Nye

OSU Extension