Hay and Forage Equipment Safety (Sample News Release)

A timely harvest of high quality forages can be crucial to the success of many farms. A variety of equipment is used in the process of converting crops into stored feeds. Many of these machines are power take-off (PTO) driven and power shaft accidents are among the biggest causes of severe injuries and deaths on the farm. Non-cooperative weather can also add considerably to emotional stress, causing a rush to beat the elements. To help prevent such accidents from occurring, here are some safety guidelines:

Cutting Equipment:

  • Never try to adjust or clear cutter bars, reels, or conditioning rollers without disengaging the power. Avoid rushed movements when working close to the equipment, even when stationary, because of its sharp edges and points.
  • Flail mowers should be properly shielded to prevent a flail from becoming a lethal projectile if it happens to break loose.
  • Avoid standing near the rear of a operating conditioner since foreign objects can be thrown from the rollers with great force.
  • Watch out for stones, ground holes, and uneven terrain when cutting forage crops.

Conventional Balers:

  • Never try to work on a baler until the fly wheel has come completely to rest.
  • Discourage anyone from riding in a wagon if a bale thrower is being used.
  • Balers should be thoroughly serviced prior to major use.

Large Round Balers:

  • Never eject big bales in an area where rolling can occur.
  • Never allow someone to be near the equipment especially at the rear when bales are being ejected.
  • Never try to service or clear the machine while the PTO is engaged.
  • Make sure your tractor is weighted properly to allow safe handling and transport of large bales.

Forage Wagons:

  • Never work near running wagons. Always disengage the PTO.
  • Stay clear of the discharge conveyor while operating. Remain in the tractor seat.
  • Make sure all shields are in place during operation to prevent entanglement.
  • Follow maintenance procedures specified in the owner's manual.

Often hay and forage equipment is PTO driven -- make sure that all PTO shafts are properly guarded and be sure the power is off before anyone attempts to clear or make adjustments.

This public service announcement was produced by the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH), One Atwell Road, Cooperstown, New York 13326 - Ph# (607) 547-6023 or (800) 343-7527 in the northeast. Publication date: 1994.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More