Ways to prevent accidents and injuries on the farm
Part of your emergency protocol should include up-to-date emergency contact information for everyone on the farm. You need to know who to contact if someone is injured and how they relate to the employee. You should also have any relevant medical information about your employees that could affect their treatment in the event of an injury.
KEEP EMERGENCY SUPPLIES CLOSE TO HAND
Preparing for accidents also means having the right equipment. All vehicles and machinery should be equipped with a safety kit and eye wash bottles that can be used in an emergency. The more quickly you are able to react to a serious incident, the less serious the injuries themselves will be.
USE CHESS EVENTS AS LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
In addition to all the incidents that result in serious injury, there are many more incidents that narrowly avoid disaster. Don’t just brush up on these incidents! Use them as learning opportunities: discuss them and find out how you could prevent a similar situation from happening again. The more proactive you are in avoiding farm-related injuries, the safer everyone will be.
REDUCE RISKS WITH THE BUDDY SYSTEM
Some of the most risky areas on the farm are grain elevators and livestock pens. Not only are injuries particularly likely to occur here, they are also more likely to be serious. This may not always be practical, but one of the best ways to avoid injury and death in these situations is to implement the buddy system. Always make sure there is someone nearby who can get help quickly in the event of an accident.
CONSTANTLY ASSESS THE RISK OF FARM-RELATED INJURIES
One of the easiest ways to avoid accidents is to constantly take inventory of your surroundings. Look for ways people could get hurt, so you can eliminate those risks and keep people safe. This will be especially beneficial if you have a lot of hired helpers on your farm. People are constantly making things happen, and mistakes are inevitable. Take the time to ensure that the keys have not been left in the tractor, that the equipment has been returned to the correct location and that the risk of tripping has been taken into account.
PROVIDE EXTERNAL ASSISTANCE
Sometimes you are too used to seeing the same place day in and day out to be blind to the risks. In these cases, it may be a good idea to hire an outside consultant to walk around the farm and provide safety suggestions. The consultant can spot risks that you haven’t noticed.
You should also designate someone to focus on farm safety – either one person or a small committee for a larger farm. Their role is to develop policies and practices to prevent injury, educate other employees, and ensure compliance with OSHA and other states.
Editor’s Note: Lori Culler grew up on a vegetable and grain farm and is the founder of AgHires (https://aghires.com/…), a nationwide job recruiting service and online employment site based in Temperance, Michigan. E-mail [email protected] and find more tips on managing work under Resources on www.dtnpf.com.
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