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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Make safety the top priority

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In the coming weeks, the landscapes in Clay and Owen counties are going to change.

This change will primarily be caused by farmers harvesting their crops. Harvesting crops is a painstaking ordeal that many farmers and farm families cherish. However, no one wants an injury to arise that would spoil the memories being made.

Therefore, at this time, we all need to be reminded of a few basic safety precautions that need to be followed whether you live and work on a farm or if you are a citizen of the county.

This time of year, you may be traveling down the road and end up approaching a tractor, a combine, or some other type of farm equipment. Depending on the size of the equipment, it could take up the entire roadway. No matter what size it is, it is important that everyone practices being a good citizen and share the road.

Thus, it is important that farmers and non-farming individuals take responsibility to ensure everyone arrives at their destination safely. This means that farmers need to make sure their equipment has working lights (front, rear and turn signals) and that they have a slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign posted where everyone can see it. SMV signs are used for any vehicle that operates at less than 25 miles per hour. If you come up on a vehicle that has a SMV sign, don't honk your horn or try to pass. That puts everyone in danger. Instead, keep a safe distance between you and the farm equipment so you are able to stop quickly if the need arises. Farmers should be reminded to make sure their SMV signs are in good condition, can easily be seen, and replace them if they are damaged.

There are other safety measures that farmers or homeowners need to be aware of.

Most likely, we have all fallen guilty to breaking the "One seat, one rider" saying but that needs to change. It might sound like a great thing to have a family member or friend ride with you, but accidents can occur when an extra rider is on the tractor or lawnmower. Therefore, it is always best to follow the one rider policy.

Watch out when making turns, especially near ditches, banks, and hills because a rollover could occur. If your equipment has a rollover bar, make sure it is attached properly since it may help save your life. Make sure you have your equipment secure when working on it and that no one is near a working part when you start it up. By following those two steps, you can ensure the equipment doesn't drive over someone or fall on them. Additionally, if working near a power take-off (PTO), make sure your clothing is not loose and you are extremely careful so that you do not become entangled in the PTO.

Not all farm accidents occur when operating or working on equipment. Accidents can occur when a farmer is working in or around a grain bin. In instances like that, a farmer can become entrapped by the flowing grain. It is important that when working with flowing grain that you have someone else with you who could contact emergency personnel if needed. Similarly, children and teenagers should not be allowed in grain bins where they can be exposed to such a dangerous atmosphere. Grain entrapment is a serious issue that has been publicized pretty heavily in the state in recent years, and it is important that individuals take precautions to prevent this from happening.

Farming is a dangerous occupation but one that is needed to help support the world. Therefore, it is important that both farm residents and non-farm residents understand the various safety precautions that need to be taken when working around farm equipment.

By having patience, farmers and non-farming individuals can help improve the safety of our roads this time of year.

Additionally, farmers need to ensure that someone is aware of where they are working and what they are doing and should keep a first aid kit with them at all times, so they can help improve their chances of experiencing a pleasant harvest season.

As always, Purdue Extension is here to offer a variety of opportunities and knowledge to farmers, homeowners and businessmen alike. If you would like more information on farm safety, check out Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana Rural Safety and Health Council, or your local Purdue Extension Office.

Additionally, the 2008 Indiana Farm Fatality Summary may be accessed online at http://cobweb.ecn.purdue.edu/~agsafety/I....

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* Oct. 2-4 -- Seventh Popcorn Festival of Clay County, Forest Park,

* Oct. 5 -- Annual fair board meeting, Owen County, 7 p.m.,

* Oct. 7 -- Garden Club Autumn Meeting, McCormick's Creek State Park, 5:30 p.m.,

* Oct. 8 -- Owen County Ag Day with Owen Valley FFA,

* Oct. 8 -- Owen Monroe Cattlemen's Association, Owen County Extension Office, 6:30 p.m.,

* Oct. 12 -- Owen County Ag Advisory Board meeting, Owen County Extension Office, 6 p.m.,

* Oct. 15 -- Clay County Ag Advisory Board meeting, Clay County Extension Office, 6 p.m.,

* Oct. 17 -- Owen County Extension Board annual dinner, Owen County Fairgrounds, call for tickets, and

* Oct. 19 -- 4-H Award Program Night, Owen County Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.

You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, for more information on upcoming events. If you would like to contact me directly, I can be reached at either of the two numbers listed or via e-mail at smith535@purdue.edu.