combine at night

Harvest is a busy time of year and with all the rushing about, accidents easily happen. Here’s some simple things you can do to avoid those costly mishaps.

1. Wheel nut indicators

Have you checked your wheel nuts this harvest? Wheel nuts working their way loose is probably more common than you think. Wheel nut indicators can be bought for as little as 25p each and can instantly tell you if something’s about to go wrong. A cheap device that could save you a serious headache.

2. If you can’t see them, they probably can’t see you

If you drive into something, it’s annoying and can be costly. If you drive into a person, it must be devastating.

Farmers use big, clumsy kit. It’s what we do. If you’re outside, working near a machine that’s moving, you need to take into account that the operator might not be able to see you, so make it so they can.

See also: Working safely at height: all you need to know about man cages

A good tip is that, if you’re working outside, especially in the dark, take your phone with you and make it light up. This way, it’s not left in the cab in case of an accident, and might just help you be seen

3. Reflectors

Harvest often means working long days and late nights. If you’re working in the dark after a full day’s graft, make things easier for yourself by making anything and everything a lot more visible.

Reflectors or reflective tape can be put on anything, so do it. Put them on gate posts or the posts of the shed you’re reversing into, even put them on the header trailer and buy your dog a reflective collar. If it makes it less likely to be driven into, it’s definitely worth it

4. Walkie-talkies

Everyone’s in a cab, and not everyone has mobile phone signal – sound familiar?

If you don’t have them, get a cheap set of Walkie-talkies for when you’re working together. They can help so much in giving that extra bit of information you wouldn’t have given otherwise.

This can make harvest run smoother “can you meet me at the end of this run”, generate a laugh “you look stupid in those shorts” but crucially can give vital information like “the combine’s on fire” and they can give it instantly, without waiting for them to pick up the phone.

5. Look up as well as down

Minimum height for low voltage power lines is 5.2m, and the highest combine tank lid is 5.7m, with augers at a similar height.

Know how high your machine is and if the power lines look too low, they may well be. Learn from the mistakes of others. Do whatever you can to stay away from power lines. They can kill

6. Don’t drive like an idiot

We all want to get it done, but doing your best Jenson Button impression in a tractor is a quick way to have an accident. You’re better off doing the job right than having a crash and slowing everyone up.