Harvest Time Safety Tips

Harvesting soybeans in the field

What’s the Most Important Factor in Harvest Safety?

Farmers know that fall is the busiest time of year. This is the time farmers are working around the clock to harvest crops from the fields. Harvest requires many different pieces of large equipment, and this equipment can be dangerous when operated or moved.

Farmers must be aware of hazards in the field and on the roads and exercise caution when encountering these hazards. The most important factor in harvest safety is preparation.

Always Test Equipment

Always test equipment before using it. This can cut down on problems in the field and save time in the long run. A piece of equipment that breaks down or is unusable from an accident equals lost hours of valuable harvest opportunity. Equipment should be made harvest-ready several weeks in advance of use, as it takes time to get machinery into safe, efficient operating condition. You may also need lead time to obtain replacement parts.

Take Your Time

While this may sound easier said than done, mistakes can easily happen because of short cuts. Being in a hurry isn’t worth losing equipment, having an injury or even death. Moving equipment too fast and without proper cleaning breaks can lead to fire. Being in a hurry can cause carelessness which can lead to accidents and injuries. Taking your time also includes watching your surroundings. Be alert and aware at all times.

Make Sure You and Your Equipment Are Seen

The red reflection of a safety triangle is a universal sign for a slow-moving vehicle. Farmers should ensure that all of their equipment has this triangle where it is easily visible.

Also, before moving equipment from one field to another, farmers should make sure that all signals on the equipment are working. This is another way to make drivers aware of the slow-moving equipment. You can’t make vehicle drivers be alert and react safely when approaching you, but you can do your part by making every effort to be seen.

Take Extra Precaution on the Roadways

During harvest season, large equipment is on the roadway. It is important as an operator that you remember a lot of harvest equipment and large farm vehicles can’t stop on a dime. Drive slowly and give plenty of room. Be aware of your surroundings and approaching vehicles. Train your employees and drivers and periodically review safe driving techniques. Periodic reviews help keep safety on the mind.

Take Care of Your Most Important Asset, You

Remember to take short but frequent breaks. Dehydration, hunger, and fatigue can contribute to accidents or injury during harvest. Remember you can help prevent accidents by staying organized and preparing ahead of time.


The information presented in this document is for informational and educational purposes only. It is intended to assist individuals, farmers, and business owners in identifying common hazards/risks and considering proactive loss prevention or loss mitigation actions. For information related to specific loss hazards, please contact your insurance agent.

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