Top 10 Cotton Picking Hazards and How to Prevent Them

You rely on your workers to use cotton pickers properly to drive your business and keep your employees safe. Due to the complexity of these machines, there are many potential hazards that might result in injury, or even death, for workers.

The hazards of cotton picking can be avoided with proper training and safety procedures. Here are the top 10 hazards involved with cotton picker parts and machinery—and how you can help prevent them:

  • Entanglement with moving parts: There are many moving cotton picker parts that can entangle a worker while they are doing maintenance on the picker. Shafts and rotating parts can easily catch clothing or hair. Ensure your cotton picker has effective guarding around its loose parts, and that workers wear clothing tucked in and have their hair pulled back.
  • Crush injuries: There are crush hazards for workers between moving cotton picker parts or underneath raised picker baskets. Make sure your workers take the time to check machines or parts that might cause crush injuries while they work on them.
  • Running over other workers: Other people in the field might be run over by cotton pickers if they are not completely visible to the driver. Operators should be attentive to their surroundings at all times and take breaks to prevent fatigue.
  • Tipping or rolling picker: Since cotton pickers are so large, they can tip or roll if not driven carefully. Operators should travel at an appropriate speed to maintain machine stability and avoid steep angles. Also make sure the basket is lowered before moving; raised baskets can affect stability.
  • Falls: Workers may fall from the top of the machine or basket while cleaning. To prevent this, use safety handrails when on top of the machine, or strap into a harness.
  • Electrocution: Operators can be electrocuted if they are operating a cotton picker under power lines. Raising baskets into power lines can cause a fatal electric shock. Operators should be aware of power lines in the area and be given a map of the farm indicating hazards.
  • Fire and burns: Cotton is highly flammable. Prohibit smoking around cotton and cotton pickers, and keep the machine clean of dust and grease. Cotton pickers should be equipped with a fire extinguisher.
  • Machinery collision: Machines may collide with one another or with buildings or power lines in the area. Ensure that cotton picker operators are trained at how to operate the machine safely and that they are fully aware of their surroundings.
  • UV or solar radiation: Sun exposure can be extremely damaging after long periods of time, causing sunburns, skin cancer and difficulty seeing. Workers should wear long pants, a hat and sunglasses, as well as sunscreen.
  • Exposure to loud noises: Cotton pickers make a lot of noise, and prolonged exposure to loud noises can be damaging to workers’ hearing. Reduce noise from faulty cotton picker parts by replacing them and ensure workers wear earmuffs or earplugs to protect their hearing.

To keep your cotton pickers operating safely, be sure to replace your cotton picker parts and maintain them as needed. Certi-Pik, USA is your one-stop shop for all your cotton picker part needs! For over 25 years, we’ve delivered quality cotton picker parts to customers. Call us today!