Regardless of module type, safety should be high priority for all workers. Equipment manufacturers include extensive discussions of safe operating practices in the operator’s manuals for their machines. All employees should read the operator’s manual before working around the equipment, and safety guidelines should be followed. The following points are additional practices to avoid injury or death.

Forming and Covering Conventional Modules

Train new operators on all phases of operating a module builder. This will include site selection, operation, safety, covering, and module handling.

  • When hooking up a module builder to a tractor, keep hands away from the drawbar. Pinching and crushing of hands and fingers can result from sudden motions of the drawbar.
  • Do not park module builder in the transport position without inserting safety pins to lock the wheels and prevent accidental lowering. The best practice is to lower the module builder onto the skids when not in use to prevent the possibility of someone crawling under module builder.
  • Do not reach under a raised module builder. This is especially important for those who place tarp ties under the module builder prior to building a new module. Use a tool to transfer the tie from one side to the other.
  • Never enter the module builder chamber while in operation.
  • Make sure the tramper cylinder is lowered into the transport position when moving the module builder on roadways or around overhead obstructions. When the hydraulic cylinder is in the operating position, there is high potential for catching wires and tree limbs when moving the builder.
  • Do not build modules near overhead obstructions. Always evaluate the area around the builder when selecting a location to form a module. Be aware of overhead obstructions that might interfere with boll buggies and harvesters dumping into the module builder.
  • Ensure that there is clearance before opening and closing the module door. If the hydraulic valve opening and closing the door is located in a position where the area behind the module cannot be seen, a spotter should be used to ensure adequate clearance.
  • Modules are not billboards. Mark modules only with necessary identifying marks, and only with approved module-marking materials.
  • Do not walk around the top of module builder to clear material from a boll buggy or to move cotton into the chamber. Avoid situations where there is a high potential for falls. Workers should not enter the module chamber to unroll covers. Fatalities have occurred when the tramper was activated inadvertently.
  • Do not smoke or use welding equipment around a module builder that contains cotton. Handling Modules
  • When unloading half-length modules from the Case IH cotton picker, avoid overhead obstructions that might be contacted when the chamber is raised. If cover crews or other workers are in the area, make sure all personnel are in view or someone signals “all clear” before unloading the module. This is especially true when staging a second module near another.
  • When unloading round modules from a John Deere cotton picker, be aware of the slope when dropping off a module from the carrier. While the tendency for the round modules to roll is low, it is possible on steeper slopes.
  • Do not allow personnel behind or in the bed of the module truck when loading modules.
  • Module trucks are not to back up to the module feeder without direction from module feeder operator or other system to ensure area is clear of personnel. The module mover should be equipped with a back-up warning system to alert gin personnel of equipment moving backwards.
  • Do not cross between modules while on feeder table to remove covers. Employees have been trapped between modules, resulting in loss of life. Loosen the cover on the loading end of the feeder, pull it to the end of the module and then off the side. This strategy will keep workers safely to the side of the modules.
  • Do not get on the module floor unless feeder system is off and locked out.
  • When using an automated roller for rolling tarps, the operator should have a dead man’s foot switch to control the roller power. The rolls are a severe pinch point, and arms have been broken when caught in a powered roller.

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