Mid-June and early July marks the beginning of haying season on Montana’s farms and ranches. It is extremely busy, where 18-hour days are not uncommon, and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment is being used all over the ranch. In 2019, farms and ranches were the most fatal occupational location in Montana with the majority of those fatalities involving a tractor, pickup, or four-wheeler. This is the time of year we see an increase in machine related accidents and injuries, so share this article with everyone working on your farm or ranch.
Maintaining equipment is crucial for safe operation. Ensuring tractors, balers, rakes, swathers, and other equipment is in good condition can alleviate a lot of stress and lost time. By preventing breakdowns, you can ensure more time to operate safely and efficiently, versus rushing and trying to beat the rain (Lord willing we get some).
- Check and replace broken and worn parts
- Grease all moving components
- Shields and guards are there for your safety; replace broken ones and put them back on after removing
- Ensure PTOs and hydraulic equipment is stopped and isolated before working on or around the machinery.
- Keep clear and out of the path of running equipment.
- Maintain a proper setting and speed, and only travel at a speed that the equipment can handle.
- Never try to unplug a baler until the tractor is completely shut off and the PTO is disengaged.
- Be sure every tractor has a charged fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
- Always supervise inexperienced operators.
- If you get out of the tractor or machinery to fix something, take the keys with you to prevent someone starting the equipment when you’re under it.
- Keep foot traffic out of the loading/unloading/stacking zone.
- Keep stacks straight, if they begin to lean, unstack and start again.
- Use equipment that is large and powerful enough to handle the bales.
- When working on top of stacks, remain clear of edges and ensure a safe method to access the top of the stack.
- Never stand underneath a suspended load.