If you want to increase safety procedures within your operation for you and your workers, here are the five leading areas to consider, according to Kelly Donham, agricultural safety specialist and researcher, University of Iowa.

1. Respiratory exposure — Pork production poses an increased risk for respiratory ailments from dust, endotoxins and ammonia, which can lead to bronchitis and asthma over time.

2. Manure gases — Up to 40 percent of deep pits pose a significant risk for repeated, long-term exposure. But most importantly, agitation is a very hazardous period.

3. Injuries — Always be alert during animal-handling situations, such as heat checking sows and artificial insemination, as serious injuries can result when workers are in close proximity with animals. Working as a team is always wise.

4. Needle stick — Serious reactions to animal drugs may occur and require immediate emergency treatment. Plan to review the steps with workers and have handbooks available with recommended treatment steps.

5. Noise exposure — Up to 33 percent of pork production workers have a hearing impairment. A variety of hearing protection devices should be considered and made available to workers. Training on the use of devices and enforcing their use are necessary steps as well.

You can cut down on injuries with proper use of personal-protective equipment and save on insurance, too. Make sure you add personal-protective equipment to your orientation training and keep equipment in a convenient place.