This week is National Farm Safety Week! The theme “Putting Safety into Practice” reminds us that it is everyone’s responsibility to practice safety – on the farm and on the road. And, while we practice safety on the farm every day, this gives us the opportunity to focus in that direction a little bit more … right before harvest gets into full swing, too!
Agriculture is a dangerous occupation. While tractors contribute almost 50 percent of all farm injuries, there are other causes, too: equipment, wagons, livestock and structures, skid loaders, grain storage, lawn mowers, just to name a few …
When’s the last time you had a nice, in-depth talk with your family and/or employees about safety? It really doesn’t hurt to talk about such things … around the supper table, while working on equipment in the shop, while taking a walk across the barnyard.
The Ag Safety and Health team have some great resources on safety around the farm. You can access their factsheets and other materials at http://www.agsafety.osu.edu. (Note, you may have to “wind your way” to this site through CFAES to Departments [Food/Agricultural/Biological Engineering] to Extension/Outreach.)
Recognizing the hazards associated with equipment and the farm environment can significantly reduce the potential for injuries. Reviewing this information as a group might be a start … and, then how about a “Safety Scavenger Hunt” to put it into action!?
As you’re out doing chores or just walking around the farmstead, look for and identify hazards and then share what you’ve observed with others … Did someone see a “pinch point?” What about a “crush point?” Can you find a “wrap point”? Were all shields in place? Are lights and signage properly installed and operational? Are livestock enclosed with secure fences and gates? Be sure to have a time to share what everyone’s observed!
You could always make it a contest to see who can identify the most potential safety hazards … and also reward those that bring to your attention the *true* hazards that need to be addressed … An ice cream cone or a milkshake could be a relatively inexpensive way to help them be aware of what’s out there. Maybe they’ll even help you fix those “true hazards”!
Bottom line: Be safe!! Be aware of your surroundings … Recognize areas of possible injury and/or accident … Fix things that need to be … You want your family and employees to be safe. They want the same for you!! Work together to make it happen!
Just a Final Reminder: If you have a Private Pesticide Applicator License that was up for renewal this year, be sure you’ve got your new card!! If not, my first question is, “Did you pay ODA the $30 license fee?” Technically, that was due March 31. If you missed that date, you still have a bit of time to get it in: Sept. 30 is the final day that your payment will be accepted! After that date, in order to legally apply restricted pesticides, you will need to re-take – and pass – the test! So, if you don’t have your new card, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture to find out the status. Yes, I can get you that information!!
The writer can be reached at the OSU Extension office (937-498-7239) or by email at email@example.com.