September 16, 2014 | Elise Schafer
print-button

Pre-harvest Safety Lesson

Reinforce your safety culture before the busiest season arrives

Pre-harvest Safety Lesson

Reading a text message from behind the wheel takes the average driver’s eyes off the road for five seconds. Traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the entire length of a football field blindfolded.

You may have heard this before, but I learned it from Kyle Whisler, commercial manager for Archer Daniels Midland Co., during the opening ceremony of ADM’s Beech Grove, IN, wheat milling facility. Every ADM meeting begins with a Safety Moment. It doesn’t have to be grain handling related or even occupational related. Kyle chose to focus on distracted driving, as the temptation of chiming cell phones during even a short commute is all but unavoidable these days. Through policies like the Safety Moment, ADM has created a safety culture that goes beyond on-site considerations and extends to personal well-being. This attitude was fully on display during my facility tour. From requiring safety glasses, earplugs, a hard hat and a hair net to be worn before stepping inside the mill to reminders to keep hands on stair rails, ADM employees have clearly embraced the company’s values. It was a fantastic example of the kind of culture Feed & Grain has always encouraged its readers to instill.

The message is especially timely as we head into what is expected to be a record harvest year for soybeans and a corn harvest estimated to be on par with last year’s. Trucks soon will be racing in and out of elevators and although railcar delays are inevitable, when they arrive, crews will be bustling to quickly load and send them on their way.

Before the busy season arrives, now is the time to conduct a safety audit, test your hazard monitoring systems, repair any parts that aren’t in working order and perform preventive maintenance on conveying and material handling equipment, scales, probes, dust collectors and dryers.

Also, never turn a blind eye to a potentially unsafe behavior, or worse — an OSHA violation. Enforcing safety rules may not win you any popularity contests, but it’s one aspect of a manager’s job that can’t be taken lightly. Not addressing concerns early on could lead to a tragedy. Borrowing words from this issue’s Manager’s Notebook column: “Often our first instinct when confronted with a crucial moment is to remain silent and do nothing ... [but,] it is important to hold people accountable, and not speaking up is not holding people accountable.”

Doing this, plus regularly sharing safety tips (not just company policies, but real-world information) shows employees you care about their well-being and helps create a safety culture.

Here’s wishing you and yours a safe harvest season!

More Articles

Beyond OSHA Combustible Dust Compliance
Star Milling uses a VAC-U-MAX breakaway central vacuum system, that meets OSHA's requirements for a combustible dust vacuum, to keep its facility clean and compliant. Photo by Air Cleaning Technology

Beyond OSHA Combustible Dust Compliance

November 24, 2014 | Online Exclusive |

Feed mill employs portable combustible dust central vacuum to remove fugitive grain dust and eliminates the need to enter confined spaces for cleaning.

[Read More]
Feed Industry Invests in Education
The Northern Crops Institute, located on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, has educated visitors from more than 130 countries.

Feed Industry Invests in Education

November 11, 2014 | Cover Story | Elise Schafer

The Northern Crops Institute renovates its feed mill on North Dakota State University’s Fargo campus with state-of-the-art equipment donated by feed industry suppliers.

[Read More]
Feeding Signals: The 
Cows Say it All

Feeding Signals: The 
Cows Say it All

October 28, 2014 | Online Exclusive |

Feeding perfect rations is only possible when you understand feed analysis, the properties of the feed, the way a cow functions and her milk production. The concept 'Feeding signals' looks at all these aspects: from mouth to rumen and intestines. In this article we touch on a few things to consider when using this concept.

[Read More]