The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 18, 2012

Be aware of harvest hazards


DANVILLE — This summer’s drought roasted crops for most of the season. Many farmers already have started to harvest what they can, hoping to put something in the bins before autumn’s hopefully rainy weather sets in.

This week is National Farm Safety and Health Week. With the harvest already under way, it’s a good time to remind local motorists to be on the lookout for farm machinery on the roads.

Farm families should take steps to ensure their loved ones’ safety as well, such as making sure lights on combines, tractors and farm wagons work. They also should use extra caution around such machines as augers and the power connections on tractors. If children help during harvest, they should be taught the proper and safest way to run machinery.

Motorists who must share narrow rural roads with these large harvesting machines should constantly be aware of the potential dangers.

Blind corners where standing corn can block a driver’s view can be particularly hazardous. Easing into the intersection until you’re sure it’s clear in all directions is the best way to travel.

Coming up on a slow-moving combine or farm wagon — especially at night — requires caution and patience by all involved. Trying to pass without a clear view can lead to tragic situations.

Last year, 29 people lost their lives in farm accidents in Illinois, according to the University of Illinois.

Patience, caution and cooperation will help make sure those numbers do not increase this season.