Farming is one of the most important and dangerous jobs in the United States. Yet here you are – working sunup to sundown to help put food on our tables.
And while you dedicate your life to others, we’re here to help protect you from the unexpected.
Here are seven tips to help keep you and your employees safe:
1. Maintain your equipment. Most farm accidents and deaths involve outdated machinery. That’s because older machinery might lack safety features, or it's not maintained correctly. Make sure you update equipment according to the manufacturer’s advice to help prevent accidents.
2. Understand how to safely handle chemicals. Keep chemicals in their original containers. Train all farm employees how to best handle the chemicals and what to do in an emergency.
3. Be alert on the road. Most accidents occur when drivers try to pass a slow-moving farm vehicle. Watch out for other vehicles on the road. You can also use flashing lights to draw attention to the tractor’s slow speed.
4. Have a plan for grain bin safety. Train workers on grain storage hazards. Follow safe bin entry practices like “Lock Out Tag Out” and use a lifeline system. Have an emergency action plan and train everyone on your farm to follow it.
5. Tell your family and employees where and when you’re working. Be sure to also carry a cell phone or walkie-talkie in case of emergencies or accidents.
6. Get plenty of rest and take frequent breaks. Have healthy snacks and fluids on hand to keep your energy levels up. Do not push yourself past healthy limits. Accidents are more likely once fatigue sets in.
7. Know how your medications affect you. Some machinery and medications (both prescription and over the counter) do not mix. Consult your doctor to see if your medicine may harm your ability to safely operate your equipment.
During National Farm Safety and Health Week, and all year long, please make safety your number one priority. What are some other ways you keep yourself safe on the farm? Comment below!