"The old adage of downtime during the winter doesn't exist anymore," according to WSPS agriculture consultant Fred Young. "It’s just the work that changes."
For most farms, it's the time when equipment, which has been operating relentlessly around the clock without preventative maintenance, can be serviced. The busy harvest season is hard on the equipment. Equipment will need to be cleaned and serviced including: bearings greased, tires on the grain carts checked, truck brakes inspected, and drive belts on combines, balers, and harvesters serviced for next season.
Be aware that farm fatalities and critical injuries can occur during maintenance as well. Using the equipment hydraulic locks, and rated jack stands, will ensure no crushing incidents happen.
Prevent Fall from Heights Incidents
Falling from any height has the potential to cause life changing injury or death. This includes falling off the side of a silo, down a hay chute across a feeding crib, or when tarping a hay wagon or servicing equipment from a ladder. We all know these types of events occur.
If you need to climb, get trained. Wear a fall arrest harness for anything over 10 feet. Practice ladder safety whenever you use a ladder for service work. Stay inside the rails of the ladder. Placement should be "1 foot out at the base of the ladder for 4 feet up".
Conduct Heavy Equipment Training
Winter is also a time for additional training. It represents an opportunity to get new and younger workers trained on maintenance and proper use of equipment.
Many farms today, including smaller farm operations, have larger equipment. This includes excavators, skid steer, pay loaders, telehandlers and B train grain trucks. Heavy equipment training is essential for the safety of workers and for farm success.
With COVID 19 still very much a factor, new workers need to have a clear understanding of how it specifically impacts their workplace and the measures needed to be taken to protect themselves and those around them.
Star in Your Own Safety Video
Utilizing video has become more and more popular as an effective training tool. Recognizing this, and the unique characteristics of every operation, WSPS has created a video to instruct farmers on how to make videos on their own.
Using a greenhouse operation as a template, this video goes into detail on the various aspects of video production. Each area is broken down into easy-to-understand components. Now even the most inexperienced, novice videographer can create videos that will speak directly to the training needs of even the smallest operations.
To find out more about how you can create your own videos please watch How and Why to Produce Your Own Short Training Videos on the WSPS website.