Most people don’t think of a farm as a dangerous place — not compared to a factory or a warehouse. When you think of farm life, you tend to picture fields and grazing animals or chickens in the yard. But farms use a lot of heavy machinery, chemicals for pesticides, and even animals can be dangerous if they’re not treated properly. With these factors in mind, the Ostic Group would like to share some ideas for farm safety:
- Stay alert on the job – Working in the fields can be exhausting, especially on hot days in the summer. This is the most common place for injuries to happen, so it’s best to be focused on the task at hand. Stay hydrated and remember to take breaks in the shade, if you’re getting too hot. Alertness can help prevent accidents caused by poor decision making.
- Teach operators how to use equipment properly – Equipment like tractors, threshers and other machinery are probably the most dangerous things on the farm. Make sure operators are wearing appropriate clothing — like helmets and work boots — and have been taught how to use them properly. This includes knowing how to maintain the equipment, how to drive it on the road or highway, and other necessary skills.
- Don’t leave equipment running – This one should be obvious, but who isn’t guilty of leaving something on accidentally? At home, these mistakes can be harmless, but they’re much more serious in a farm setting. Even if the machinery is just standing, it presents a hazard to children or animals if it’s left running.
- Be careful around animals – Most animals are perfectly safe if they’ve been trained properly, but there a few things to watch around them. Teach workers or visitors how to approach animals. Avoid making loud noises that will startle livestock. Don’t get too close to a mother with a newborn. Also, remember to wash your hands after touching an animal!
- Handle chemicals with caution – If you’re using pesticides or herbicides to spray crops, or dealing with chemicals in any of your other farm processes, remember to wear protective gear. Store chemicals in marked containers, out of reach of children or animals.
- Have a safety plan in place – Write up a safety plan for your farm and make sure everyone knows what’s in it. Include the numbers of emergency services, including poison control. Practice emergency situations to test the plan. If you’re looking for more ideas, this brochure from Ontario FarmSafe is a great resource!