The Minnesota Department of Agriculture partners with RDO Equipment Co. team members to sponsor in-person training events focusing on simple but essential tips to keep farmers safe.
Started by Farm Safety and Wellness Day seminars were first started by a few nonprofits including REACH: Rural Enrichment and If Only LLC. They partnered with organizations like the University of Minnesota Extension and West Central Ag Services. Businesses like RDO Equipment Co. And Wild Rice Electric Cooperative joined the event to present interactive workshops to share stories and important reminders.
RDO team members Jared Roelofs, Product Specialist for Precision Agriculture Technology, and Tony Kramer, Agronomist, shared these six simple farm equipment safety practices.
1. Wear appropriate attire, including personal protective equipment and fitted clothing.
Scarves or loose clothing can get caught in machinery. Remove all jewelry when working on machinery, except for allowing silicon rings
2. Ensure you have three points of contact when getting in and out of the cab.
Most often, simple tasks like getting in and out of a tractor cab can cause injury. The three points of contact system mean three of four limbs are always in contact with the vehicle (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, etc.) when entering or exiting equipment.
3. Avoid starting equipment from the ground.
Starting equipment outside might be tempting when troubleshooting machinery issues; however, getting back into a cab to start a tractor will safeguard from rollover incidents and more.
4. De-energize systems before working on them.
Besides electricity, farmers should keep in mind other energy sources that may need to be released, including thermal, chemical, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical and gravitational sources.
Ensure equipment is powered down, then check machinery that could have store energy, such as capacitors, springs, rotating flywheels, water pressure, etc. Remember pulling fuses does not mean that a circuit is dead.
5. Never step over a Power Take Off (PTO) system and keep all safety components.
Always keep PTO safety in mind. Remember that PTO shafts turn faster than our reaction time, and it is easy to get clothing, hair and other items caught in an implement.
6. Download and read the equipment's manual.
Many tractors and pieces of equipment will have downloadable manuals, making them searchable and accessible from mobile phones.
Roelofs and Kramer highlight these events are an extension of RDO’s internal safety philosophy for team members: Safe by choice and not by chance. As such, RDO team members are continually hosting safety events. The Sunnyside, California team recently held a basic machine safety and machine walk-around event. The event was a chance to level-set safety knowledge and expectations for seasonal operators and those less experienced with agriculture equipment.
RDO is committed to joint events like these safety seminars, so farmers can get the information they need to stay safe.