Farming may not seem like a particularly dangerous practice at first glance, but agriculture ranks as one of the more hazardous industries in the world.
The small farm of crops and plants in your backyard may not pose a significant threat to your physical person, but larger-scale operations are a different matter. The bigger the farm or ranch, the higher the risk of injury and illness is for workers and their families. These risks include pesticide exposure, pulmonary disease, industrial equipment incidents, hearing loss, and various stress factors.
Every day at least 100 agricultural operators suffer a work injury. In 2014 alone, 12,000 youth sustained injuries on farms, and 4,000 of said injuries were due to farm work. Some of the best preventive measures against incident and injury on your farm are relatively basic ideas and suggestions.
Keep any and all areas of foot traffic in good repair and free of obstruction hazards. Handrails should be available for all stairways, and you should check all your ladders and equipment regularly and keep it in good condition. Your livestock areas must be clearly labeled and bordered.
You should provide your workers and family members with regular training on basic safety around equipment and animals. Only those with official training and certification related to how to use equipment should be allowed to work with it. Potential obstacles in the landscape should be removed or marked to prevent malfunctions or on-the-job damage. Your machinery, specifically your tractors, should offer overhead protection and measures to protect against injury during dismount or falls.
Tractors are so useful on large-scale farms that they are nearly synonymous with the image of farm life in the public consciousness. As a primary machine for farm use, tractors are also responsible for a majority of fatalities and severe injuries.
Operating and maintaining this equipment requires safe work practices, which include being physically and mentally fit during operation. Stress, fatigue, or operating your tractor under the influence of medication, alcohol, or drugs can result in death or injury.
Make sure you pay attention to your tractor's safety information and warning decals. Always inspect your tractor for any and all hazards before and after use, make sure anyone operating the tractor is trained and capable in those checks as well. Never leave your tractor running unattended or dismount before turning off the engine.
Make sure the area is clear of all bystanders and never allow passengers, especially children, on a moving tractor. This last practice is essential as tractors do not typically come with two sets of seat belts or harnesses, and you should always wear these devices during tractor use. To ensure that your seat belts will work properly, inspect the belt for cuts and make sure the seat belt hardware has no corrosion or cracks.
There's an entire week dedicated to the ideas discussed in this article. National Farm Safety and Health Week takes place September 17-23 in 2017. The event emphasizes topics including tractor safety, especially the importance of seat belt use.
Because there are many uncontrollable aspects of farming, including off-season weather changes and environmental factors, it's important to pay attention to the areas of your farm that you can control.
These safety practices help reduce worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses as well as medical expense, workers' compensation payouts, and insurance hikes. Following these safety tips creates a safe and healthy work environment and allows your farm to operate more efficiently.
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