The cotton picker is several thousand pounds of complex, rotating machinery cutting its way through acres of cotton fields. If this doesn’t sound intimidating to you, operating a cotton picker is probably just another day on the job for you. However, just another day on the job can quickly become your last day on the job if you aren’t careful.
There are several hundred farming-related deaths per year in the U.S., plus thousands of injuries, and the majority of these unfortunate events are related to accidents involving farming equipment. It’s best to practice safety first and protect yourself and others from the possibility of injury when on the job, so here are a few essential safety guidelines to keep in mind when operating a cotton picker:
- Keep your picker in proper repair: Even a small issue can become a major hazard when operating machinery this large. Be sure to do regular maintenance checks and keep your cotton picker in good repair. For any replacement cotton picker parts you may need, Certi-Pik, USA can help.
- Keep windows and mirrors clean: Cotton pickers are large and complex machines, which create blind spots for the operator. To increase visibility, it’s important to make sure that all windows and mirrors are clean.
- Keep all lighting and alarms in proper working order: Warning lights and alarms are there to let others in the area know of the cotton picker’s direction, as well as to alert the driver of obstacles. Be sure that these are always in working order by checking them frequently.
- Get help backing the picker: When backing your picker, be sure that the surrounding area is clear by shouting “clear” or some other agreed-upon warning signal. Best practice is to have a spotter who can help make sure that no unexpected obstacles get in the way.
- Be careful on public roads: If you need to take your cotton picker onto a public road, be sure to travel at safe speeds. Use an escort and turn on all your flashing lights as well. Since it’s hard for you to see smaller vehicles on the road, best practice is to make certain that they see you and are aware of your movements.
- Train and retrain: Establish procedures for operating your cotton picker, and then thoroughly train all personnel. Specific points to consider when training are how systems should be locked for service, steps for operating baskets, positioning of brakes and communication between personnel.
- Practice precaution when ascending and descending: When getting into and out of your cotton picker, be sure to first scrape any mud from your shoes. Then face the ladder and be sure to keep both hands on the handrails at all times.
To ensure your safety and avoid the risk of injuring others, use best practices for cotton picker operation and make sure that your picker is always in good repair. For help with replacement cotton picker parts, please get in touch with the team at Certi-Pik, USA today.