The start of the fall harvest this month also marks the beginning of National Farm Safety and Health Week. Traffic and equipment accidents make this time of the year one of the most deadly times of the year for farmers and motorists. Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Educator Aerica Bjurstrom says farmers and motorists need to be aware of each other while on the roads.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, agriculture outpaces transportation and mining in work-related deaths, 22.2 people per 100,000 workers. You can read and hear more safety tips for farmers and motorists from Aerica Bjurstom below.
TIPS FROM AERICA BJURSTROM
- Time is short and people are in a rush. Take a break when you need it.
- Keep equipment maintained and in working order.
- Make sure all caution lights, SMVs and reflectors are visible and free of mud and debris.
- Do not remove shields or guards —they are there for a reason!
- Be a defensive driver, be alert of who is around you and where.
- Be aware of silo gases. Avoid going in a silo when gases are forming.
- Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! Silo gases are heavier than air and will settle in low areas. Be sure someone knows where you are if you must enter a silo.
- Farm equipment has the right to be on the road.
- Not all farm equipment is required to have turn signals and brake lights.
- As a motorist, please use caution, patience, and share the road with farm equipment. Following farm equipment on a highway is the equivalent of sitting at a stop light. The “time lost” is about the same.
- Most farm machinery operates at less than 20 mph.
- Leave plenty of space between you and farm machinery, a vehicle operating at 55 mph can catch up to a tractor in a matter of seconds.
- Typically equipment is on the road for a short drive to or from a field, so exercise patience when following farm machinery.
- It is illegal to pass farm equipment on a straight line (no passing zone).
- Use good judgement if you must pass farm equipment. Often times the reason farm equipment is going exceptionally slow is because they are preparing to turn into a field. Attempting to pass a tractor who suddenly turns left will end in disaster.
- Tractors often ride on the shoulder to allow for better visibility for motorists, but be aware they need to maneuver around mailboxes and other obstacles.
Farm Safety Full Interview