COLUMBIA, Mo.-Planting time is one of the riskiest periods for farm injuries and fatalities-and a time for farmers to develop a professional attitude towards safety, said a University of Missouri farm safety specialist.

"Review equipment manuals. You may be less familiar with seasonal equipment than with equipment you use daily," said Karen Funkenbusch.

As farmers plant this year's crops, they should keep in mind several recommended safety precautions:

Inspect all planting equipment before using. Make sure shields and guards are in place and seat belts work properly.

Never lean or step over a power takeoff while it is operating.

Do not wear loose-fitting clothing around PTO shafts or other moving parts. Keep long hair tied back or under cap.

Shut down equipment, turn off the engine, remove keys and wait for moving parts to stop before dismounting equipment.

Maintain Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) symbols on all equipment.

Keep bystanders and children away from all equipment.

Always read chemical packaging labels. Information should include proper use and handling of the chemical, safe storage and first-aid treatment.

Obtain material safety data sheets for the crop-protection chemicals that you use. These sheets include health-hazard data, spill or leak procedures and handling information.

Wear personal protective gear specified by the label. These can include chemical-protection goggles and face shields, chemical-resistant gloves, coveralls, boots, hats and aprons.

Keep crop-protection chemicals in locked storage areas. Label the storage area as containing pesticides.

Launder chemical-soiled clothing separately and triple rinse.

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