Tips to keep safe for fall harvest

Harvest is the most dangerous time of year for people working in agriculture. Keeping in mind National Farm Safety & Health Week, which was in September, Iowa State University Extension reminds everyone to regularly read instruction manuals regarding potential dangers of farm equipment and to be diligent in preventing injuries.

Tips to keep safe for fall harvest

Harvest is the most dangerous time of year for people working in agriculture. Keeping in mind National Farm Safety & Health Week, which was in September, Iowa State University Extension reminds everyone to regularly read instruction manuals regarding potential dangers of farm equipment and to be diligent in preventing injuries.

Reading and following the operation and instruction manuals are often overlooked as tedious or non-essential. However, packed in those printed pages is wisdom that can increase a person’s safety and well-being. For example, air-compressor equipment manuals contain warnings or procedural steps alerting you that failure to remove condensation will cause a tank to rust prematurely.

Read, follow instructions

“Draining the moisture from the tank may be viewed as an unnecessary task,” says Charles Schwab, ISU Extension safety specialist. “Unfortunately, if procedures in the manual aren’t followed, there is a serious potential for injury.”

With the air-compressor tank, moisture in the tank will cause it to rust. Over a period of time, internal rusting weakens the tank’s structural integrity, potentially creating a violent explosion.

“When under pressure, pieces or the tank itself will become projectiles that can inflict injury and cause damage,” says Schwab. “No one can predict when a rust-weakened tank will explode and where the projectiles will fly.”

The images below are from one such explosion. The bottom of the compressed air tank exploded and launched the tank vertically into the roof of a building, demonstrating its violent nature. The rocketing tank removed part of the roof before falling back to the ground. “Farmers and ag professionals need to realize that reading and following operation and instruction manuals can prevent injuries, like the example of the eventual rusting and explosion of the air-compressor tank,” Schwab says.

Source: Iowa State University

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HIT THE ROOF: An air compressor tank was weakened by rusting and it exploded. It shot upward and struck the roof of this machine shed, causing considerable damage to the building. Luckily, no one was injured.

This article published in the October, 2015 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2015.

Safety Management

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