Harvest season is a busy time, packed with activities that must be completed within a relatively short time frame, and a lot rests on how successful you and your crew are in accomplishing everything on schedule. Countless hours are spent using huge machines and dangerous equipment, and sometimes the demanding schedule means hiring new, inexperienced workers to get the job done. All those factors combined with the rush to get products to market at the peak of freshness and demand means accidents are more likely to happen, and that means it’s more important than ever to practice safety in every phase of operation.
- Reviewing safety protocol on a regular basis is critical. Every new hire should have training specific to their duties as well as an understanding of safety practices across your operation, in order to make them familiar with their duties and their responsibilities for staying safe. Even farm established workers can benefit from frequent reviews, and any time a new piece of equipment is purchased, training is essential.
- At the peak of harvest, more farm equipment and trucks will be sharing the roads with other vehicles, so reviewing road safety is also essential. Mounting slow-moving vehicle signs on trucks, combines and other machinery is one way to alert other drivers to potential hazards, and having ample insurance on work vehicles provides an added layer of protection that protects your business from what could be devastating financial losses.
- Never overlook maintenance issues, no matter how small, and maintain routine servicing to spot issues that could present dangers in the near future. Make sure workers know to turn off engines, place all vehicles in park or neutral, and engage the safety brake before exiting a vehicle. Instruct your workers to leave all guards including roll bars in place on vehicles and equipment and to wear seat belts whenever operating a vehicle.
- Respirators and protective eye wear can prevent a significant number of injuries, but only if they’re worn when and as directed. Reviewing protocol associated with these and other personal protective gear on a regular basis is essential.
- Finally, review your insurance coverage at least annually and any time new equipment is brought on board to ensure you have enough coverage to protect your operation from accident- and disaster-related losses.
Agriculture consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., and every year, thousands of people are injured. At Atlantic-Pacific, we work closely with our farm clients to help them identify safety risks at their operations so they can develop responsive plans aimed at keeping their workers and their operations safe and productive. To learn more about how we can help, call (800) 538-0487 and speak with an agent today.
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