With National Farm Safety Week being observed this week we all have a chance to review, revise and renew. Review your farm’s safety program, revise where needed and renew your commitment to a safe workplace and home.
According to a report by Kate Lorenz, CareerBuilder editor, farming is fifth on the list of ‘America’s Most Dangerous Jobs’. In a typical year, 551 workers die while doing agricultural work in the United States and about 88,000 suffer lost-time injuries.
Everyone is aware of the importance of safety on and around the farm but how many are serious each day on the matter of safety for themselves, their families and employees? This week affords an opportunity to review your current safety protocols for key operational functions. Make certain that each step is designed to minimize risk and maximize safety.
The National Ag Safety Database provides an extensive list of farm safety topics and resources. Hold a ‘Safety First’ meeting on your farm to review the topics offered by NASD and involve your family and employees. Encourage suggestions from all involved on how safety can be improved. If you make safety an important focus in all employee meetings and spend the extra time it requires, the practice will eventually establish a safety culture within the organization.
Make safety protocols on livestock handling and machinery a priority. Livestock treatment or handling is the most common activity performed when injuries occur, resulting in nearly one-third of the total injuries, according to NASD. Workers engaged in field work and machinery maintenance experienced the next highest percentage of injuries.
Keep safety protocols and training current. When installing new machinery or equipment be sure to implement appropriate new safety procedures or update existing ones. When adding new personnel, make sure they all receive safety training on all activities that are part of their job.
Make sure you and your crew are ready for the changing safety hazards that accompany each season. For example, in the fall, combines and other harvest equipment are especially vulnerable to fires because of the heat levels and dry crop fodder that can collect on them. Combine fires can easily spread to crops or remaining corn stover, rapidly engulfing acres of farmland.
The National Institute for Farm Safety has updated a list of farm safety and health professionals that can assist you in your efforts. This list of professionals is alphabetized by state and includes a contact name, institution, phone number and email address.
This week, renew your commitment to safety among your family and employees on your farm. When appropriate, involve children in safety training and drills. They will benefit in many ways by developing good safety habits that will last them a lifetime.