Workplace Safety in Agriculture

Every time I see a medical helicopter fly overhead, I’m am both sad and thankful…sad for the person whose day turned disastrous, and thankful for my safety and well-being. It is a reminder of the fragility of life. Every day, workers across the country head off to work with the full expectation of returning home again at days end. Unfortunately, accidents in the workplace prohibit some workers from ever returning home.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Newsweek Farming and Agriculture has a ranking of number 8th most dangerous job for injuries and fatalities. According to this report, 23 people out of every 100,000 people in the Agricultural industry will lose their lives this year. Sadly, The National Safety Council reports that each one of these is preventable.

 

Here are some of the safety measures to the leading causes of injury and death around the farm.

  1. Equipment Rollovers
    • Be sure your tractors and equipment have the proper ROPS (roll over protection systems) and seatbelts are always worn.
    • For older tractors without factory ROPS, install a CROPS (Cost-effective Rollover Protective Structures) system if available.
  2. Machine safety
    • Never operate any machinery without its intended guards.
    • Stop and repair the machine if its optimal operation is compromised by a faulty part.
    • Perform (Lock Out Tag Out) LOTO procedure to ensure machinery is not turned on unexpectedly during repairs or scheduled maintenance.
  3. Falls
    • Always be sure of the secure footing of ladders
    • Never use the top step of a ladder
    • A safety harness should always be worn when climbing ladders, roofs, bins and silos and should always be tethered securely
  4. Electrical contactA certified electrician should always perform repairs, installs or upgrades
  5. Air quality
    • Be sure to provide adequate ventilation during barn pre-heat and brood to keep the Oxygen used by heaters replenished and the Carbon monoxide expelled from the barn
    • Provide adequate ventilation when operating farm equipment in barns
    • Keep out of manure pits and silage storage areas
  6. Always wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • Boots – ideally steel toe
    • Hard hats
    • Gloves
    • Respirators

Safety is the first step of preventing accidents on the farm, at home, and around the workplace. A constant mental reminder to work safely should take a higher level of priority in each one of us.

Work safe, work smart, go home each day!

 

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