Putting Farm Safety into Practice on a Budget
By Katie Drewitz, University of Minnesota Extension
PRESTON and CALEDONIA, Minn. (08/16/2022) — With inflation on nearly all products budgets have been tested this year. When money is tight agricultural producers often have to make difficult decisions. Sometimes those decisions are made to the detriment of farm safety practices and improvements. But they do not have to be. Even when money is tight, you can always get better at the little things.
1. Fix lights and slow moving vehicle signs.
Lights and slow moving vehicle (SMV) signs are cheap, and they do not take long to install. These two pieces of safety equipment protect farmers and everyone else who shares the roadway. When traveling on roadways, implements of husbandry must have a visible SMV emblem on the rear of the equipment as well as a number of functional forward and rear facing lights.
2. Replace broken or worn out equipment.
More than likely you can think of at least one strap, electrical cord or chain on your property that has seen its better days. Even though you know you should replace it, the job always seems to find its way to the bottom of the to-do list. Take the time and replace worn-out equipment. These relatively small investments might prevent a barn fire or the loss of a round bale while you are going down the road.
In addition, do not forget about the importance of equipment guards. Guards are designed to protect us from many hazards like moving chains and rods. These guards cannot do their job if they are rusted through, have been damaged or have been removed. Some might complain that guards get in the way and slow down their ability to work. But how much work is getting done when a preventable injury sends us to the hospital?
3. Do not sacrifice safety to gain time.
From silage cutting to fall tillage, the upcoming season is busy. A busy schedule is no excuse to cut corners. How much longer does it take to put cylinder locks in place before crawling under equipment? Do you really save time by leaving the combine running while you unclog it? Remember that those three seconds could save your life. Do not forget the importance of keeping up on daily equipment maintenance. Preventing breakdowns is guaranteed to save you time and reduce stress.
Not all farm safety improvements require large financial investments. Often times the most effective farm safety measures we can take only require a couple of dollars and a little bit of time.