Grain augers are a very common piece of equipment on farms and other agricultural businesses, but per hour of use, they're also one of the most dangerous pieces of machinery. Since they are so common, it's easy to become a little too comfortable operating them. Injuries received from augers can include electrocution or amputations, broken bones, and lacerations due to entanglement. With harvest season bringing an increased usage of augers, it's important to make sure you're observing the best safety practices.
There is a lot riding on the correct grade of hitch pin that links the implement to the tractor or truck. In fact, the hitch pin is a critical component in keeping control of implements we pull. More often than not a hitch pin is selected based on its diameter and length. Rarely is strength the top consideration.
According to Fred Whitford, Purdue University, the bent hitch pins pictured below indicates that somebody got lucky! A bent pin is a sign you needed something stronger, so pitch them before they get used during harvest because they're handy. Better yet....pitch them so they never get used again. It may be just fine in the field, however, you open yourself up to much more risk when you take equipment on roadways.
Grain augers are a necessity on many agricultural operations and deserve a high level of attention due to the many safety risks associated with them. Common injuries include amputations, entanglements, electrocution, lacerations, and broken bones. Which is why augers have been recognized to be one of the more dangerous pieces of equipment per hour of use.
If your operations’ equipment is involved in an accident on a public highway, can you defend yourself? Can you show you took steps to train your operators on road safety, made your equipment visible and comply with transportation regulations?
Whether you have a robust Safety Training program in place, or realize that you must get one started very soon, it can be helpful to establish your core objectives at the beginning of each year. Here are some considerations:
If you have a dairy operation in Wisconsin or upstate New York, or a pork production facility in Minnesota, or a feedlot in the plains states, you know that OSHA has been looking at you with greater intensity. Sources close to the agency tell us that OSHA has focused on the chemical industry, manufacturing and construction over the last 30 years and feel that they now have those industries well-established with clear protocols and robust monitoring. With Agriculture being the last high-risk industry that they haven’t targeted for significant improvements, it’s only logical that they would go here next.