18 Tips for Agricultural Employees to Safely Handle Big Hay Bales

By Axis Marketing

bales of hay

In agriculture, personal protective equipment such as air-purifying respirators, powered air purifiers, gas masks and air-supplied respirators are crucial for preventing long-term damage.  

However, these tools are just the first lines of defence against toxic gases. It is important to know what kinds of poisonous substances you work around so you can identify symptoms and warning signs:


Pre-Harvest Precautions

  • Inspect the tractor-baler combination and make sure that all the shields are in place. This is especially important for the power take-off shield (PTO).
  • Remove excessive grease or grass build-up on all moving parts to avoid an unnecessary fire hazard.
  • When servicing equipment, chock the baler wheels, lock the tractor brakes and remove the key from the ignition.
  • Thoroughly clean the baler to remove any debris.
  • Periodically check for loose or missing bolts, screws, nuts, guards or bent teeth.
  • Replace any bent or missing pickup teeth to ensure that feeding into the feed rolls will go smoothly.
  • Every so often, inspect belts and chains for wear, and service them as needed.
  • Ensure that hydraulic hoses are clean and in good condition before the season.
  • Check the lights and warning reflectors on all vehicles. Also make sure that machinery is equipped with a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem to warn other vehicles of your speed.


Crop Preparation and Baling

  • When working on rough terrain or hillsides, avoid holes and other obstacles that could tip a windrower or throw you off the machine.
  • Inspect the terrain and crop density to determine the windrower speed.
  • Be mindful that the more machinery is unplugged, the greater the chance of an accident.
  • Never unplug the baler before disengaging the PTO and shutting off the engine.
  • Do not feed material into the baler with hands or feet; limb(s) could get pulled into the machine.


Making Hay

  • Before transporting hay to the field, check to make sure the brake pedals are joined together.
  • Check the tire pressure on the baler and tractor to avoid equipment drift on slopes in the field.
  • Do not leave the tractor seat when the engine is running.
  • Always make sure the area behind the baler is clear when ejecting a bale. Also avoid ejecting bales on downward slopes, as they may continue to roll.



Find out more:

This list is not exhaustive. Download your own copy of our "Agriculture Employee Safety Manual" for more ways to keep your agribusiness employees safe:

Download Here


Tags: Agribusiness

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