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5 October 2014 - Think Safety, Practice Safety

Some of you are probably getting very tired of hearing this message - my ‘Farm Safety’ sermon which I deliver twice a year, once at planting time and now at harvest time.

I am grateful to those of you who e-mail me to tell me “you can’t spend enough time talking about safety on the farm and ranch, because during this busy time we tend to forget about doing things that we should be doing. We get careless around moving machinery and we need to be reminded that agriculture is a dangerous occupation.”

Indeed, we keep reminding you of the fact that the occupation of agriculture is more dangerous than the transportation industry, more dangerous than the mining industry.

So, twice a year, I am going to remind you: Think Safety, Practice Safety. As I have said many times over the years, probably the best 30 minutes you can spend during your day in the combine is taking a nap. We are now seeing signs on our Tollways that say “Fatigue is Dangerous” and “Driving While Sleepy is Dangerous”. The same goes for combines and tractors in the field. I know you have to beat the thunderstorm that is heading your way, but losing a day or two in the field is much better than suffering injury or death.

Some other points to remember. A farm or ranch is not a playground for children at harvest time, because there are so many hazzards that will attract young people. You must keep them away from combines, tractors, trucks, augurs, elevators and grain bins.

Speaking of grain bins, we are experiencing an increase in grain bin suffocation deaths and with the huge crop coming on this year that could become an even bigger problem. Make this a firm rule on your farm. Never go into a grain bin alone! You should always have someone with you on the outside to react in case you get trapped.

And finally, a word for our city friends who take those autumn drives to the country on unfamiliar rural roads to enjoy the colors of the season. SLOW DOWN because you never know when you round a corner or come over a hill and suddenly there is farm equipment in front of you going 50 mph slower than you. That equipment has a legal right to be there, and if you value your life, you will slow down and not become s statistic in another auto/combine collision. A reminder to you producers, make sure your safety lights & flashers are visible and operating; and the Slow Moving Vehicle Emblem is clearly visible on the back of your combine or other slow moving equipment. That is its only legal purpose and it should not be used as a driveway marker on a stationary mail box post.

Those are some the things to think about as we roll into the very busy 24/7 time of harvest in the United States. Oh, and more thought...accidents don’t always happen to somebody else. Think what would happen to your family if you suffered permanent injury or if you were killed. I am very tired of reading this headline “Farmers come together to harvest the crops of a neighbor who died in a farm accident”. Be careful!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.