Even as September winds down it's a good idea to remember that this is Farm Safety Month, and while I wish I didn't have to say what I have to say…I do.
Based on Twitter chatter and other sources, there's been a rise in deaths around grain bins. That's probably due to the fact that people are emptying out bins more than ever before to move grain in this hot market. But slowing down and being more careful is critical.
As we go into the heat of harvest in the Midwest and parts north, please keep that in mind. We've all invested in a lot of new technology to make us smarter, faster and more efficient. Frankly, that does you little good if your maimed or killed because you made one wrong move.
And agriculture does remain one of the most dangerous businesses in the country based on death and injury stats. Even with the latest safety equipment, a busy owner-operator rushing around to harvest grain because that's really your only payday each year, can find themselves in trouble.
So as you fire up the combine, take a deep breath. Make sure all operators are retrained in the tools they're using so no one has to hesitate when something bad happens.
Take rest breaks - regularly - to avoid fatigue, because a tired mind can make big mistakes.
And be sure that all the safety shields and systems are in place and working before a machine heads out to do work. I know this can be a pain, but it's necessary.
These are big machines. They do a LOT of work. And they can kill you just as fast.
As someone once said, there's nothing wrong with having a healthy fear of something that can do you great harm. So stay a little scared, because I know when I'm a little scared I'm a heckuva lot more alert.
Enjoy this harvest. Reap what you've sown. And prosper into the fall of 2011. But as Sergeant Phil used to say on Hill Street Blues let's be careful out there.