Prevent Disasters During the Harvest Rush...
August 21, 2008
Combines are among the most dangerous machines on farms in our region. The size, power and moving parts of a combine when coupled with the stress and rush of harvest time, can be a recipe for disaster. Follow these safety procedures:
" Set aside time to properly prepare the combine for harvest. Rushed repairs may lead to injuries.
" Conduct a safety check before taking to the field. Replace all guards and shields that may have been removed. Replace or repair all lights that dont work -- especially transport lights, such as headlights and taillights.
" Examine fields for hazards such as erosion washouts and other surprises that can develop during the growing season. Alert other workers to those hazards too.
" Adjust and service the combine as directed in the operators manual. There are usually some adjustments that need to be made while the machine is running, but others should be done with the machine stopped and the key removed from the tractor or the combines ignition switch.
" Always refuel the combine or tractor after it has cooled. Fuel vapors can easily ignite on hot engine and combine parts. Refueling accidents are a major cause of combine fires.
" Grease and check the combine in the morning while when your mind is fresh. Put the ignition key in your pocket while you are working on the combine so no one can start it or the tractor up while you are working on the machine.
" Check hydraulic leaks carefully. Use a piece of cardboard, wood, or sheet metal to detect leaks. Hydraulic oil under high pressure can easily be injected through the skin and result in serious medical problems.
" Drive the combine only while you are alert and aware of your surroundings. Hours of steady operation can lull you into a hypnotic state. To avoid this dangerous situation, schedule a break for all workers every two to three hours. Change jobs with someone else who can operate the combine for a while.
" Use the safety stops on the header lift cylinders when working under the header.
Dont trust hydraulics with your life.
" Keep your distance from other vehicles and machines. Combines need a lot of room to maneuver and have large blind spots. Always be aware of the location of other equipment.
" Move combines from field to field only during daylight. Driving combines on public roads after dark can be very risky. The size of a combine, coupled with its unfamiliar shape and lighting pattern make it a dangerous hazard on the road after dark.
Source: NDSU Ag Communication