Stuck in the Mud? Think Safety First

Heavy rains in many parts of the country mean the potential for stuck equipment is huge. ( Farm Journal What a Day )

Recent heavy rains in the Midwest and torrential downpours in the Southeast mean farmers will be struggling to harvest crops this fall. The potential for trapped and stuck equipment is huge, especially in fields prone to flooding.

Time at harvest is money. But the worst thing you can do is to rush when equipment gets stuck, says Penn State ag safety and health specialist Michael Pate. “An extraction can go horribly wrong in a matter of seconds leading to property damage as well as severe or fatal injuries,” he says.

Here is a checklist of equipment extraction tips:

•  Never assume a routine situation. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” says Page. “Make sure you assess the situation and do not panic…. Seek help if needed.”

•  Select and maintain the right equipment. “Your tool is only as good as its weakest link,” he says. “Not all chains are created equal in tow capacity. In some cases chains are not recommended, especially grandpa’s trusty logging chain.”

•   Select your connections points carefully. “Tractors have a high center of gravity so proper hitching to the drawbar is critical in preventing a roll-over,” says Pate. “Sharp edges can cut a tow strap in two  when forces are applied for pulling. Use clevises or other means to protect straps or cables.”

•  Maintain a safety zone. Maintain a safe area around equipment to prevent flying debris from hitting bystanders or other equipment. “A minimum of a 100’ diameter is recommended around the extraction zone,” he says.

•   Inspect equipment before each use. “If you have a damaged pin or strap, do not use it. Repaired extraction or homemade extraction hitches are unpredictable and often will fail under the extreme forces during extraction,” says Pate.

For more information on proper equipment extraction and links to even more information, click here.