Row cropping is a popular method to grow corn, wheat, vegetables, and fruits. Safety procedures and good ergonomics can bring in the crops with fewer injuries.
Hand harvesting and grooming can be done with knives or clippers. Use straight or curved tool handles that keep your wrist straight while you work with the tool. For power and comfort, use tool handles that allow your fingers to wrap around and slightly overlap. Handles should be long enough and padded so they don’t cut into the flesh of your hand. Use handles with smooth, slip-resistant covers. For low crops, attach handles to your tools to prevent stooping.
Equipment such as cultivators and harvesters can be used to maintain and harvest row crops. Get training in the proper use of mechanical equipment. Wear your seatbelt and ensure the vehicle is equipped with a Rollover Protection System (ROPS). Never hitch a ride on equipment or trailers unless they are equipped with passenger seats and seatbelts.
Maintain your equipment and tools so they are clean and functional. Inspect them before each use. Use lockout/tagout for maintenance, jams, and repairs to control moving, rotating, and cutting parts that could injure or kill you if they start accidentally.
Protect yourself from strains and sprains. Keep your back straight and keep work close to the body. Lift with your legs. Avoid stooping and bending your back repeatedly. Use stools or carts that get you close to your work. Use lighter, smaller bins instead of large, heavy ones and make more frequent trips.
Working in agriculture is hard work and highly productive. Maintain your overall health and wellbeing. Eat right and stay hydrated. Dress in light layers that you can add and take off. Use shade breaks to prevent heat illness and fatigue. Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen, clothing, and hats. Learn first aid procedures for heat and cold illnesses, sunburns, insect bites and stings.
Training and good work practices yield safety with your harvest.