Even though farm machinery manufacturers ensure that their products are safe by equipping them with safety guards, agricultural work presents many hazards. Many times, workers suffer injuries because of human error from taking a shortcut, ignoring warning signs, not paying attention or not following safety rules.
It’s important to train workers on proper procedures to prevent workplace accidents. Here are six of the most common farm machinery hazards, as well as several safety recommendations to share with workers to reduce their risk of injury.
1. Shear Points and Cutting Points
Shear points occur when the edges of two objects move close together and can cut soft material (example: auger). Cutting points occur when an object moves forcefully and is able to cut (example: sickle blade). To avoid injuries, employees must remain alert while operating machines and advise nearby co-workers when using cutting machinery as some machines can throw objects.
2. Pinch Points
Pinch points happen when two rotating objects move closely together, one moving in a circle. Hands and feet can get caught in pinch points, or other body parts can get pulled into pinch points when loose clothing becomes entangled in the machine. To avoid injuries, instruct employees to wear tight-fitting clothing and never reach over or work near rotating parts. Also, walk the farm and help employees identify places where pinch points can occur and avoid these areas.
3. Wrap Points
When exposed machine parts rotate, they create wrap points. Loose clothing can get caught in the moving parts and consequently pull workers into the machine. To avoid injuries, show employees how to shield potential wrap points before beginning work. If you cannot shield wrap points, paint them a bright colour to remind employees that they are there.
4. Crush Points
Crush points occur when objects move toward one another or when one moves toward a stationary object — this may tragically cause workers to be crushed in between. Show employees how to block equipment securely to avoid fatal injuries.
5. Free-Wheeling Parts
Some equipment with moving parts continues to spin after being shut off. To avoid injuries, employees need to wait until the machinery has completely stopped before touching it. Remind employees that this can take several minutes.
6. Hydraulic Systems
Workers servicing, adjusting or replacing parts on machines with hydraulic systems can face high-pressure blasts of hydraulic oil. This can cause injury and/or burns to the skin. To avoid injuries, train employees not to inspect hydraulic hoses with their hands, as the hydraulic fluids can puncture the skin.
To ensure everyone is on the same page, all employees should walk around the farm to help them become familiar with the potential hazards of the machinery they work with. Remember, safety always comes first!
It’s always best to think ahead. If you have any questions about Farm insurance, call our office today at 780.435.2400!