Agriculture Safety Matters: Big Bale Handling

By | February 19, 2014

Agriculture Safety MattersDid you know that a big round bale of hay weighs between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds? Since they are so heavy, agricultural workers must make safety awareness a priority in order to avoid injuries.


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 your 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 you unplug machinery, the greater the chance of an accident.
  • Never unplug the baler before you disengage the PTO and shut off the engine.
  • Do not feed material into the baler with your hands or feet; your 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.


Big Bale Handling

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