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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Keeping farmers, homeowners safe

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The weather is warming up and so far, the April showers have stayed away, making many of us want to get out and work in our gardens, yards, or in the crop fields.

If you aren't an individual who loves to work outside, you might just enjoy spending time on the roads driving around.

Either way, it is important that you take note of others on the roads, including the farmer driving the tractor or other farm equipment to their fields or their homes.

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 shares the road. 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. 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 be easily seen and replace them if they are damaged.

In addition to the precautions taken because of traveling the roads this time of year, farmers need to be reminded of other farming hazards they will be coming in contact with.

Remember to always start your tractor while in the driver's seat. Never start the tractor while standing next to it, because it is unsafe. If you are standing by the tractor and trying to start it, you will have a hard time making sure the transmission is in neutral or park and you increase your chances of being ran over.

Try not to work on the tractor while it is running or walk around it when the power take-off (PTO) is in operation.

If you are near a PTO, make sure your clothing is not loose and you are extremely careful so that you do not become entangled in it.

Other injuries that can occur because of operating a tractor are the result of falling off of the tractor and either hurting your wrist, arm, hip, leg or ankle.

Often times, these injuries occur when you are trying to mount or dismount the tractor in an unsafe, improper manner. When mounting or dismounting, always use the steps of the ladder. When climbing, never take two steps at a time because that is just asking for an injury to occur. While climbing, face the tractor and try to use the handholds that are available.

When driving a tractor or even when using your lawn tractor to mow your yard, it is best to not fall victim to the "One Seat, One Rider" policy. It might sound like a great idea 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.

Remember if the tractor or lawnmower was meant to have two riders, it would have two seats and two sets of seat belts.

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. 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.

As always, Purdue Extension is available to offer a variety of opportunities and knowledge to farmers, homeowners, and business persons alike concerning agriculture, horticulture, or natural resources.

You can contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* April 17 -- Purdue Beef Unit Golden Girls Showcase and Production Sale, West Lafayette (www.purduebeefsale.com),

* April 17-18 -- Spring Fest, Purdue University, West Lafayette,

* April 22 -- Earth Day,

* April 24 -- 2010 Youth Dairy Conference, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Beck Center, West Lafayette. Cost is $15, and

* April 26 -- Pond Workshop, Greencastle, 3:30-7 p.m. RSVP by April 19 by calling 448-9041.