Safety is always important, but in the hustle and bustle on a farm, it can easily be overlooked. Harvest season is a particular challenge as schedules and workloads change, daylight diminishes and time on the job is often extended. All of that is a recipe for an increase in accidents.

Now is a good time to double check the supply and placement of your first-aid kits. If you don’t have kits in place or don’t know where they are, now is the time to get up to speed.

“Because workplaces vary widely in their location and size, the degree of hazards that can occur, the amount of staff training and availability of professional medical services, Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards do not require farms to have specific contents in first-aid kits,” says J.W. Schroeder, North Dakota State University Extension animal scientist.

He recommends starting with a basic range of first-aid items to deal with most types of injuries encountered on the farm. “Then evaluate your own farm workplace to determine whether you need additional supplies,” he advises.

Here are some basic supplies you should have in a farm first-aid kit:

  • Absorbent compresses, 4- by 8-inch size
  • Adhesive bandages, 1- by 3-inch size
  • A roll of adhesive tape, 3/8 inch by 2.5 yards
  • Antibiotic treatment
  • Antiseptic treatment (spray, liquid, swabs, wipes or towelettes)
  • Burn treatment for use on minor burns only (spray treatments also can be used)
  • First-aid guide
  • Medical exam gloves
  • Sterile pads, 3- by 3-inch size
  • Triangular bandage, 40 by 40 by 56 inches

Some additional items producers may want to include in their first-aid kit, based on the specific hazards in their operation, are:

  • Analgesic (should not contain ingredients known to cause drowsiness)
  • One or more bandage compresses in 2- by 2-inch, 3- by 3-inch or 4- by 4-inch sizes
  • One or more burn dressings at least 12 square inches
  • One or more cold packs at least 4 by 5 inches
  • Eye coverings
  • Eye/skin wash
  • Hand sanitizer with a minimum of 61 percent ethyl alcohol
  • Roller bandages at least 2 inches wide and 4 yards long, unstretched and individually packaged

For more first-aid kit recommendations, visit the OSHA website at osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3317first-aid.pdf.