Wheat Harvest Safety Tips

As harvest season starts to draw near, it’s important to remember to keep safety in mind when moving augers and big equipment.

Here are a few tips for wheat harvest safety this season:

  • Keep careful watch for overhead power lines, especially in fields you visit regularly throughout the year, as you may habitually drive in without thinking about changes in your equipment size and height.
  • Harvest also leads to more driving on narrow roads and in low-light conditions, so be sure to practice defensive driving to protect yourself from traffic that may not remember how to share the road with large equipment.
  • Check your lights each time before you go out, ensure you have slow moving vehicle signage when needed, and plan your routes to avoid high-traffic roadways when at all possible.

From your team at CHS, we wish you a safe harvest season!

Working Safety in Hot Weather

Working in the ag industry, many members of our team are frequently outside in the summer months, as are many of our farmers. The combination of heat and humidity can be a serious health threat. If you work outside you may be at increased risk for heat-related illness. So, take precautions. Here’s how: 

  • Drink small amounts of water frequently  
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing—cotton is good  
  • Take frequent short breaks in cool shade  
  • Eat smaller meals before work activity  
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol or large amounts of sugar  
  • Work in the shade  
  • Find out from your health care provider if your medications and heat don’t mix  
  • Know that equipment such as respirators or work suits can increase heat stress  

If you’re working outdoors, make sure you are protecting yourself by blocking those harmful UV rays as well:  

  • Cover up. Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks out light. Try this test: Place your hand between a single layer of the clothing and a light source. If you can see your hand through the fabric, the garment offers little protection.  
  • Use sunscreen  
  • Wear a hat  
  • Wear UV-absorbent shades  
  • Limit exposure 

ATV Safety This Season

ATVs are different than other vehicles, as well from one another. Make sure you know the unique operating procedures for the ATV you are riding. Remember to be cautious and to know the limitations of both your skill and the equipment. Serious injury can result from improper use of these machines.

Below are key points to inspecting and operating your ATV safely:
Inspect Before You Ride
– Tires and wheels
– Controls and cables
– Lights and electrical
– Oil and fuel

Reading Terrain
– Know the land you are riding on and the limitations of your machine
– Stay away from dangerous terrain, such as steep slopes, swamps, or tall grasses
– When dismounting the ATV, watch carefully for mud, holes, ruts, or other obstacles that could trip you up

Proper Speed
– Always look ahead and choose a speed that is proper for the terrain, visibility, operating conditions, and your experience.
– Pick the safest paths of travel around or over hazards.
– Adjust your speed well in advance when approaching a hazard.

Travel Safely Up and Down Hills
– Some hills are just too steep for your ATV – if the hill you are approaching looks too steep, it probably is.
– When approaching an uphill climb, move up on the seat and lean forward.
– Do not attempt to ride backward down a hill – should you begin rolling backward, do not apply the rear break abruptly.

10 Tips to Prevent Slips and Falls on Ice

  1. Evaluate the drainage of your roofs and parking lots to ensure water is being moved away from walkways.
  2. Implement an inspection process to identify areas where ice and snow accumulate. Inspections should be conducted routinely regardless of weather conditions.
  3. Ensure that adequate snow removal equipment and salt or ice-melt is kept on hand.
  4. Clear footwear of ice and snow as possible when entering buildings.
  5. Ensure that proper footwear is worn by all employees including office workers. Look into ice cleats for those individuals who spend a significant amount of time outside.
  6. Ensure floor mats are located at entrances of buildings to address water accumulation from ice and snow on footwear.
  7. Use railings when climbing or descending stairs.
  8. Maintain three points of control when mounting or dismounting vehicles and ladders.
  9. Avoid carrying tools or materials as this can affect your stability and view of what is in front of you.
  10. Ice and snow means take it slow!

Use Three Points of Contact When Climbing Ladders

Safety for our staff and member-owners is of the utmost importance to the team at CHS Prairie Lakes. Read below to learn more about how to safely climb ladders and up equipment.

Three Points of Contact

The safest way to mount and dismount vehicles, equipment, and ladders is to maintain three points of constant contact. That means one hand and two feet, or two hands and one foot – at all times. Anything less and you’re risking a fall. 

Proper form for climbing up equipment.

Tips for Using the THREE POINT System:
– Always face towards the equipment.
– Get a firm grip on the rails or handles.
– Look for obstacles on the ground before exiting.
– Mount and dismount when the equipment is stopped.
– Break the three-point contact only when you reach the ground, cab, or platform.
– Slow down and take extra care in wet, snowy, or icy weather.
– Avoid wearing loose or torn clothing that can catch on the equipment.
– Wear shoes with good support.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:
– Never jump – you may land off balance or on an uneven surface and fall.
– Don’t climb down with something in your free hand – put it on the vehicle floor and reach up for it when you get to the ground.
– Don’t use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface.
– Don’t use the door frame or door edge as a handhold.

See this and other seasonally-relevant safety tips on our website!

Herman Fire Department Refreshes Propane Safety Training

Photo credit to Luke Christians, CHS employee

HERMAN, MINNESOTA, April 22, 2019 – Local firefighters in the Herman area will be best prepared to respond to a propane emergency following the propane safety training held last week.

Herman Fire and Rescue held a training on April 15th that included a hands-on propane burn, where members of the department practiced controlling and extinguishing a propane gas fire.  CHS supported the event by donating propane for the burn. 

“At CHS, we spend a significant amount of time and energy ensuring safety for our patrons,” says Dustin Umlauf, Energy Manager with CHS.  “Having the opportunity to support safety initiatives in the community, like this propane release training, is just another way we can ensure propane users in our community are in good hands.”

As a home heat, agricultural, and commercial propane supplier, CHS is proud to support trainings and events like this that bring a greater level of safety to our communities.  With locations in Browns Valley, Chokio, Clinton, Donnelly, Fergus Falls, Herman, Milbank, Morris, Ortonville, Sisseton, Underwood and Wilmot, CHS is here to supply for your needs. For more on what’s new at CHS, visit our website at www.chs-herman.com, find our page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Farm & Rural Helpline Answers the Call for Mental Health

Free, Confidential Service Now Available in Minnesota

St. Paul, MN – A new Farm & Rural Helpline is now available to Minnesota farmers and rural residents. The service, funded by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), is free, confidential, and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The toll free number is (833) 600-2670.

Farmers and rural communities face unique stresses and emotional situations, including financial challenges, unpredictable weather, physically demanding work, and more. As stress, anxiety, depression, financial burdens, and other mental and emotional issues continue to impact the lives of farmers and rural Minnesotans, the MDA recognized the need for ongoing support.

“I farmed for 24 years, so I’m no stranger to the stress and worry that can be part of farming,” said MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “I know that sometimes it helps to talk to someone about problems that can seem insurmountable. There is always help available around the corner.”

As an active farmer during the economic crisis of the 1980s, Commissioner Frederickson experienced first-hand the emotional toll farming can take on individuals and families.

He also knows that resources are available in Minnesota to families navigating the unique challenges facing farmers on a daily basis. The Farm & Rural Helpline can connect callers to financial assistance programs, health and mental health services, legal help, and more. Calls are confidential, but counselors may ask for a first name and phone number in case of a dropped call. Translation services are also available, with translators available in all languages.

The Farm & Rural Helpline is also available to those unsure of what to do about family or friends who may be experiencing anxiety, depression, or a mental health crisis.

Farmers and rural Minnesotans can call the toll free number as often as needed at (833) 600-2670.

Above information shared as a press release from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture on October 5, 2017

© 2021 CHS Inc.

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