It seems that spring has finally sprung! Happy to see farmers out in the field. Now is a great time to think about the best ways to be safe around your farm this planting season.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, agriculture continues to rank amongst the most hazardous industries. Approximately, 416 farmers and farm workers died from work-related injury in 2017, resulting in a fatality rate of 20.4 deaths per 100,000 workers.
Transportation incidents including tractor overturns was the leading cause of death for farmers and farm workers. Approximately 100 agricultural workers suffer lost work-time injuries every day. Just another reason why farm safety needs to be practiced every day to prevent serious or fatal injuries on our farms.
Recently, the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center shared a simple, yet effective farm safety check called “Stop, Think, Act”. Stop, Think, Act is a way to encourage farmers and farm workers to take a minute to stop and think before acting on a task or job. Before and during a task, stop long enough to think about what you’re about to do. Think about how you’re going to do it. Is it the safest way? If not, how can you do it better? Act in the safest way possible with the right tools and proper procedures! If you can’t do the task safety on your own, ask for help or the right tools to get the job done! Visit umash.umn.edu for more farm safety check information!
Next are several suggestions for ways to stay safe around equipment this planting season.
- Before operating, fully understand the equipment’s capabilities and hazard potential
- Use all modern safety features – such as Roll Over Protection Structures, Personal Protective Equipment and seat belts
- One Seat = One Person – Not only do extra riders distract the operator, there is no safe place in the majority of farm equipment for an additional person
- Understand all laws of center of gravity and centrifugal force to prevent rollovers
- Follow all manufacturer’s recommendations for pulling equipment with the hitch and/or using the hydraulic lifts on the equipment – including proper bucket position and hitch points
- Use handholds and care when getting on and off equipment to avoid slips and falls
- Ensure the equipment is properly maintained and cared for
In conclusion, by utilizing these suggestions on an everyday basis, you can provide a safe and healthy workplace for yourself and your workers. We all need to keep farm safety in mind to ensure that a severe or fatal injury never occurs on our farms.