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View from the Cab: Safety first

(CIFN file photo)

Even though it feels as if we are living on the frozen tundra, spring planting will be here one of these days.

It’s the perfect time to think about farm safety before we all get busy. This is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Quality of Life Action Team from the Illinois Farm Bureau urges you to put down the phone and #justdrive. Information from the National Safety Council indicates that drivers (or tractor operators) talking on mobile devices can miss half of their surroundings. By mobile devices, they mean both hands free and hand held.

COUNTRY Financial has released some safety tips when it comes to tractors and machinery. The company urges farmers to never allow extra riders on tractors or other machinery with only one seat. Also, machines should be equipped with rollover protective structures and all steps and platforms should be free of grease, mud and tools. Safety officials also recommend equipping every tractor, combine and truck with at least one ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher.

COUNTRY also notes that children and seniors are the most likely to be involved in farm accidents. Instructions should be provided in a language understood by all workers and safety education should be provided. Directions to every farm location should be posted near a telephone so others can explain where help is needed in case of an emergency.

When it comes to fields and farmsteads, growers should make sure fence posts, tires and equipment are put away. Ladders should be inspected to make sure they are in good condition and all walkways should be lit. It is also a good idea to install railings near lofts, stairways and any other openings. Flammables should be stored in a well ventilated area away from buildings and farmers should avoid burning fields or ditches on windy days. Gasoline should never be used to start or accelerate fires and there should be adequate clearance between haystacks and buildings to prevent the spread of fire.

The bottom line is to think safety first this spring and all season long. Happy planting!

(The View from the Cab is powered by Petersen Chevrolet-Buick in Fairbury)

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