Planting Season Safety Tips
Along with all the preparation you need to complete before the start of next season, the arrival of spring means it’s time to onboard employees — new and old — and talk about the importance of safety. Whether it’s through reviewing your farm’s emergency plan or discussing safety basics, a safety-first approach will help kick your season off to a good start. Also, remember to review these important tips on tractor safety with your staff before workers get out into the field. You’ll be glad they’re informed when the time comes to start planting. Take a look at these spring farm safety tips to find some new ways to work smarter and safer this year.
Safety on the Farm and Planting Preparations
As your employees make their way back to your farm, let them know up front that worker safety is your main priority. Here are some key safety points to review before they get to work on prepping your acreage for planting season. Take a look at these guidelines for farm safety as well, and discuss with your workers other ways they can help to reduce risk all year long.
Look at last year’s issues first. If problems or injuries occurred last year, review with everyone how and why they happened. Offer a chance for those involved to discuss ways to avoid those pitfalls during this growing season to help limit injuries and avoid risks.
Demonstrate how to wear personal protective equipment. Take out all the respirators your workers will be required to wear this season in order to work safely, and train them on how to fit and use all other PPE correctly.
Slow and steady wins the race. One thing’s for sure, accidents occur more often when workers are tired, so be sure that they don’t rush through their tasks. Remind your workers that they’re going to be working long hours as your operation ramps up to planting season and will need to take regular breaks. Also, remind them to stay hydrated and get good rest when away from work.
Tractor Safety During the Spring
Tractor safety starts with the basics that need to be practiced each and every time the driver gets ready to start it up. Here’s what your workers will need to know to operate the tractor safely:
Walk around the tractor first. Have your drivers inspect the tires, electrical wiring and power take-off before starting the vehicle. This is also a good time to look for obstacles, animals that may have bedded down nearby and for any children in the area. Drivers should also verify that the tractor’s first aid kit is well-stocked too.
Operators only, no riders. Here’s where a firm policy can really help to keep everyone safe on your farm. When operators are driving in the tractor to and from the field, it can be tempting to let a worker hitch a ride. It’s key to state this strict policy early on — so that new and returning employees understand riders will not be tolerated.
Seat belt on — every time. It’s the law off the road — you should make it the law on the farm. A quick review of why the belt saves lives may help get your staff to comply. From the risks that tractor rollovers pose to accidents with other vehicles traveling at high speeds on country roads, tractor drivers should always keep their seat belt fastened.
Map out your property. Spend some time looking at a map of your property with your tractor drivers. Once they’re all familiar with the lay of the land, mark out access routes that you’d like them to take. This way, if you need to track them down, you’ll know how to find them.
Travel on local roads carefully. Put together a list of “do’s and don’ts” and review with your staff how you want the tractor driven when out on public roadways. Make sure your operators verify that the slow-moving vehicle emblem is highly reflective and wiped down before getting on the road. Instruct them to allow road traffic to pass safely — they should never wave traffic around — let the other drivers make that move on their own. Lastly, drivers should be aware that the shoulder can be very soft and the risk of a rollover is higher when too much of the tractor's weight rides on the shoulder.
While you review ways to make your farm safer this planting season, reach out to your American Family Insurance agent and explore our additional farm and ranch coverages that can help to insure your farm according to its unique needs. From equipment breakdown coverage to supplementary insurance that can help to pay the costs that first responders charge if they're called out to your operation, we’ve got what you need to protect your farm from the unexpected. Your farm will be well-insured and you’ll have the peace of mind to focus your energy on the year ahead.