This post is part of a Risk Factor’s series spotlighting risk prevention in the workplace. Each post focuses on common workplace hazards associated with a specified trade or industry, as well as tips and advice to increased injury prevention. For the purpose of this post, Risk Factors offers insight into the farming industry.
Farmers don’t work within the confines of a building—they toil each day to harvest their land. The nature of the job brings untraditional workplace injuries and potentially fatal conditions to be aware of while at work, including farming machinery, as well as weather and physical conditions.
Because farmers often own a home on workplace land, they must also be weary of child safety on farm property.
Farm Equipment Presents Workplace Danger
In order to carry out the taxing work involved with agriculture, a farmer must utilize dangerous equipment and machinery. Tractors, in particular, post a threat to safety if not used properly.
Before operating a tractor, be sure to read all instructions and utilize all start safety features. Before heading out to the field, test your headlights, turn signals and emergency flashing lights for proper functionality. It’s also crucial to wear the appropriate clothing or safety gear while riding, like goggles, earplugs, gloves and a hard hat.
It’s also important to take the proper precautions against the possibility of tractor rollover injury. Westfield Insurance’s Grains of Knowledge noted, “One in 10 farmers will overturn a tractor in their lifetime.”
Tractor rollover is extremely dangerous, and farmers should have a plan in place to avoid such an event. Westfield suggests utilizing the ROPS program, or Rollover Protective Structure. The ROPS program provides preventative protective equipment.
Other hazardous equipment (if not used properly and with caution) includes ladders, grain bins, power tools, windmills, forklifts and more. When working with farming equipment, he or she must remain alert at all times.
Physical, Weather Conditions Demonstrate Safety Issue
Farmers must also be weary of outside variables that may affect workplace safety, like a personal injury or weather conditions.
If a farmer is suffering from a painful physical condition, like leg pain or neck pain, then he or she should refrain from a day’s work. Farming is a physical occupation, and one must be healthy in order to perform the job in safe conditions. A physical injury may distract a farmer from the project at hand, leading to the possible misuse of machinery or injury.
Child Safety on the Farm
In 2012, Reuters released a shocking report, stating, “More than 26,000 kids and adolescents get injured on farms and ranches in the U.S. every year, racking up costs of more than $1.4 billion, according to new research.”
Farming families should create a feasible plan for child injury prevention. Parents can create ground rules for their children regarding farming equipment, tools and other hazardous farming factors. For example, don’t let a child explore the farm without supervision. Perhaps, the guardian can direct the children to a specified play area. Also, be sure to point out off-limits areas or equipment.
How do you keep yourself, workers and children safe on the farm? We’d love for you to share your safety tactics below.