farm saftey

On working farms, there's constant movement of people and equipment. And with summer, that means more activity and more people.

We have signs posted to remind people of dangers. Roll bars and seatbelts are designed to protect drivers in case of accidents. Covers exist to shield power take-off shafts. But, they must be used in order to be effective.

My family finished putting grass silage in the bunker last week. All of the fieldwork is handled by a custom harvester and his team. The only farm employee involved in the process is my 70-year-old father, who packs the pit with a tractor. (The tractor has the roll bar attached – a requirement insisted upon by my mom)

For the most part, things go smoothly. But, when you deal with non-employees who are unfamiliar with their surroundings, are easily distracted, or were not properly trained, bad things can happen. One of the truck drivers unloaded the silage bed and pulled away from the pit area with his truck bed still in the vertical position. He didn't allow it to retract to its horizontal position. He proceeded to clip the powerline and it headed toward my dad on the tractor.

While the line missed him, Dad commented, "I was more than a little scared."

Fortunately, no one was hurt. However, the collision disrupted electricity delivery. That not only caused the farm to loose power, it also fried kitchen appliances and the phone system. The electric company was called to restore power.

In hindsight, a review of some basic farm safety should have been shared with the custom harvester and his help. (Even though they've done our field work for years.) We are grateful no people were injured, but it serves as a reminder that it could have been worse.

Be careful this summer in the fields and on farms. Not everyone is familiar with the dangers. A friendly reminder can save a life.

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The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.