Harvest season is in full swing in Nebraska, and with it come unique concerns for those on the acreage or farm. Machinery is the lifeline to getting work completed on both farms and acreages. But, machinery also carries many “hidden hazards”, that is, dangers that may not be obvious when you first think of the machine.
To keep you and your family members safe around machinery, make it a number one rule on your acreage that children play in a safe place away from any point of hazard. Secondly, be sure anyone who is working with machinery replace shields and guards after making repairs.
Points of hidden hazards are classified as:
Shear Points exist wherever the edges of two moving parts move across each other. Machines cannot think, so they don’t know the difference between crop material and your fingers or legs. Shear points can be found on augers, rotary mowers, cutter heads, and others.
Crush Points are found where two objects move toward each other or one object moves toward a stationary object. Injuries at crush points often involve a second person. Front end loaders, combines, tractors, truck frames and other machinery have crush points.
Pinch Points are any place where a person can be caught between two moving parts or a moving part and a stationary part, similar to crushing points. If you have ever slammed a finger in a door, or gotten a pant leg or finger caught in a bicycle chain, you know what a pinch point can do. Pinch points can also be found on just about every piece of machinery, large or small, and on most equipment.
Cutting Points exist where two moving edges slide across each other or a single edge slides across a stationary edge. A machine does not have to be moving for a person to be injured at a cutting point. The edges are very sharp so they can cut grain, grass or hay. Mowers, combine headers, and forage choppers all contain cutting points.
Wrap Points are where part of the machine is spinning at a high speed. A frayed shirt, loose clothing or long hair can be caught or wrapped in these points, causing severe injury. A Power Take Off (PTO) is the major cause of wrap point injuries.
Pull-In Points exist where a machine pulls material into the machine for further processing. Injuries from pull-in points often occur as someone is trying to remove material from the machine or trying to feed the machine by hand while it is running. It is imperative to shut off a machine before trying to remove stuck material. Pull-in points are found on hay balers, feed grinders, harvesters, and feed rolls as well as other machines.
Be aware of the hazards on the machines on your acreage. Use preventive measures to be sure children and pets are not caught in these dangerous points. Talk with your kids about safe play areas where they can be out of harm’s way. Turn off all machines before working on them, and replace any shields or guards once the repair is completed. Remember, people do not have a quick enough reaction time to fight a machine. Avoid being caught in Points of Hidden Hazards.
Source: Progressive Agriculture Foundation Safety Day Manual, Chapter “Hidden Hazards”, Lesson 3.