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Safety comes first as farmers prepare for spring

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The days are getting longer. We will have one more hour of daylight beginning Sunday.

When I think of spring, I realize work can lead to accidents and death on the farm. Think of the generations of farmers from the last century. Many farmers were missing fingers, hands and arms.

A talk about safety as you begin long hours of work this spring.

AUDIO: Profit Matters 3-9-18

What does it profit a man to lose his limbs or life in his work?

There is no question that days on the farm can get extremely busy. Safety and productivity on the farm go hand-in-hand at Bobcat.

Shawn Warkenthien, director of product safety for Bobcat, says even though farmers likely know every inch of their farm, it is important to recognize hazards around the operation.

“A good place to start is to read and understand the operator’s manual, and follow any safety details on the equipment,” Warkenthien said. “Those details should be replaced if they become damaged. If you have seasonal help, make sure they’re familiar with the compact equipment before getting in the machines. Ensure operators know how to properly use the equipment and help maintain it before they begin working.”

Warkenthien says a fast-paced working environment is no excuse for taking safety risks. Keep machines properly maintained and always use approved attachments. Do not try to modify the machines. He says maintenance on the machines should be done daily and always follow the service schedule provided by the manufacturer.

“Greasing the machine is a good example of a daily task,” Warkenthien said. “Don’t overlook the safety features like seat belts, rollover protective structures. Brakes and interlocks need to be checked daily to make sure they are not damaged and are functioning properly. Properly maintaining compact equipment will help ensure it operates like it should. Always make sure to follow the warnings and instructions when doing maintenance service work.”

When showing someone how to use the machine, Warkenthien says it’s important to remember the basics.

“Always fasten your seat belt before operating. Keep bystanders away from a machine, and never allow riders on the equipment. Unless there is a dedicated passenger seat, most compact equipment is designed for one person, the operator. Do not overload the machine or try to do more than it was designed to handle. Exceeding the manufacture’s rated capacity can damage the machine or be dangerous for the operator,” Warkenthien said.

It is important for producers to remember that just because a machine is compact, it is still powerful and potentially dangerous if used improperly.

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