Owning and operating a farm can be hard work. One of the toughest parts is ensuring that everyone stays safe and healthy. According to NIOSH, “Agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries. Farmers are at very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries; and farming is one of the few industries in which family members (who often share the work and live on the premises) are also at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries.” Continue reading to learn about good rules and safety practices to teach your family and employees while working on your farm.
Common Dangers On A Farm
Machinery – There are a number of dangers that present themselves on a daily basis while working on the farm. The first danger that you should be mindful of is the use of large machinery. It’s no secret, sometimes kids, and even employees for that matter, don’t always use or avoid farm machinery as they should. To small kids, a giant tractor is a mountain to climb. They may not understand what would happen if they fall off the machine. Take the time to explain to your children what can happen if they fall off a machine, or start driving something they shouldn’t. Being honest with them is the best way to keep them safe. It is also important that your employees understand what is expected of them when they are using your equipment. Make sure that when farm equipment is not being used, the machine is turned off and the keys are not left out in the open where children can easily find them. Seat belts should always be worn while operating machinery, along with other safety equipment like gloves, earplugs, or eye protection.
Chemicals – Farmers often utilize different types of chemicals for their crops, animals, and machinery. It can be very easy for children or animals to get into these chemicals if they are not sealed or stored correctly. You also run the risk of polluting your land or causing ecological damage if you and your employees do not practice proper chemical handling. Chemicals should be stored properly, sealed, and locked away in an outbuilding or shed. Ideally, your children would have no idea where the chemicals are stored.
Animals – Working with larger animals such as hogs or cattle is a common occurrence in the ag industry. If it is expected that children will help care for these animals, make sure they know how to behave around animals. A large animal can prove to be deadly to a small child if startled. The same can be said for your employees. Injury can be easily avoided with training on how to properly care for the animals.
Employees – For your employees, you should plan on regular meetings to go over safety procedures and field any questions or concerns employees may have. Utilize these meetings to talk about potential safety risks that you could have missed or repairs that need to be made around the farm to ensure everyone can work safely. There are also many training programs you can use to teach your team about a wide range of topics such as chemical handling, animal care, and so much more.
Family – Teaching your family about safety on the farm can be a little more relaxed. Stress the importance of good decision making. They should also understand what the machines and chemicals should be used for. If they have a better understanding of why they are used, they may be more likely to respect them and keep away from them. There are tons of online resources you can utilize to make learning about farm safety fun!
Farm safety may not always be the most popular subject to talk about, but it is so important for the well-being of your family and employees that safety is the number one priority. Take time to talk with your family and crew and keep it at the top of their minds. Doing so can easily help avoid injury or tragedy in the future.