The start of cotton harvest season in West Texas means an increased emphasis on safety. Whether it addresses equipment malfunctions, the threat of fire, or personal injury, taking the right precautions means avoiding potential disasters.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to ensure that your harvest is safe and incident-free.
Make Sure Your Fire Extinguisher is in Working Order
No single piece of equipment is as important in cotton stripper fire safety as your fire extinguishers. Having fully functional fire extinguishers – like those you can purchase at Hurst Farm Supply – will prevent a rapidly-spreading fire from becoming an all-out inferno. Remember it is necessary to have both a dry-type chemical fire extinguisher and a water-type fire extinguisher inspected, charged and ready to use.
Inspect Your Fire Extinguishers Consistently
A crucial step in fire safety is to inspect your fire extinguishers regularly. For starters, make sure they are in their proper place and easy to reach.
Closely examine your extinguishers to make sure the seals are intact, and they don’t have any rust, cracks, or dents. Also, check the pressure gauges to make sure they have enough pressure to work properly in case of a fire.
Another important step is to keep records of each extinguisher’s inspection date.
Preventing Cotton Stripper Fires
Always make note of the conditions before operating your cotton stripper; the drier and windier it is, the greater the chance of creating static electricity that may trigger a fire. You should also:
- Clean off lint accumulation from every area of the stripper daily, or more frequently if required.
- Make sure all of your employees are educated about the risks of fire and what to do in case of a fire.
- Be careful of rocks and bits of metal that may enter the stripper. Both can generate a spark that can lead to fire.
- For additional safety, Hurst Farm Supply offers fire brushes you can install on the cleaner of your stripper to help prevent fires.
Cotton Stripper Safety Precautions
Cotton stripper fires spread quickly because of all the diesel fuel, lint, grease, oil, and other dry matter that can build up on the outside, combined with West Texas wind. In a matter of minutes, a small fire can become completely out of control. Here are just a few of many safety precautions you should take:
- Make sure you’ve read and understood the safety manual and have a clear understanding of basic operating procedures.
- Keep lighting and alarms in working order, and windows and mirrors clean for easy visibility.
- Make sure all personnel have the proper training necessary to operate your cotton stripper, including servicing row units, and other procedures such as how to position the transmission and brakes when not in operation.
- Always be aware of overhead obstacles such as power lines, cables, and overhanging trees. Never raise the round module builder or basket near overhead power lines.
- Make sure everyone is out of the way before unloading round module builder or basket.
- Always face the ladder with both hands on the handrails before climbing or descending.
- Make sure that any component is blocked or locked so that it can’t be accidentally lowered when working around or under it.
- Never raise a module chamber or basket near overhead power lines.
- Never clear a choke from a machine when it’s running.
Ensuring Your Safety
Your personal safety is of utmost importance during the harvest season, as well – not the least of which is your back and spine health. There are several steps you can take to prevent injuries to your back:
- Always stretch before starting your work day, even if just for a few minutes.
- Don’t sit for several hours in a seated position. Take frequents breaks to avoid pain in your lower back.
- Always lift objects with the right form: your feet placed shoulder-width apart, squat from your knees, and push up by using your legs to avoid excess strain on your back.
- Wearing a back brace will keep your spine in proper alignment.
- Always watch your step.
- Avoid bad postures that puts excess strain on your muscles.