Spring is a transition time. A time of renewal. A time for planting – and a time for working on those things that caused you headaches last gin season. Unfortunately, it is also one of the times that we seem to have very serious injuries around gins.
Rebuild, remodel and repair are all non-routine tasks. These are things that we don’t do every day or even every week. Often, around a gin, they are things that we may only do once in a career. These non-routine tasks can also be some of the most dangerous things that ginners do. During the spring and summer (repair season), we often see the most serious slip, trip and fall injuries around gins.
Often when working on, installing or moving machinery, we have to remove a number of things that are there to protect us. Railings and catwalks are great for getting to a piece of machinery and doing routine maintenance and repair but are often in the way when you need to pull a cylinder or move an incline cleaner. Ladders are perfect for getting to the cleanouts on the battery condenser but are the first to come down and last to go up when you’re adding six feet to the lint slide.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen guys braced between the framework and the wall guiding a piece of equipment hanging from a crane into place…with no hard hat, harness or any type of fall protection.
We focus a lot on safety during the gin season because that’s when we have the most exposure, the most employees and the need for training, but this time of year we really need to look at safety, too. Just because there aren’t lots of motors running, pulleys turning and cotton flowing doesn’t mean there aren’t dangers. Please be smart. Use fall protection, take time to train your employees how to use it. Use hard hats. They save lives. Be smart about portable ladders. Cranes and their loads are very dangerous. Listen to the operator’s instructions and most importantly…TAKE YOUR TIME. Be safe this repair season.
Dusty Findley contributed this article. He is executive director of the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association and is based in Dawsonville, Ga. Contact him at (706) 344-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org.