That is the watchword of The Red Cross Society but it has to be the watchword for everyone, farmers included.
You may not realize it, but farming is one of the most dangerous occupations because it usually involves working with tools and machinery.
Farm safety is not only the responsibility of management but everyone who works on the farm. Some of these tips you can implement immediately, while others will require that structures be put in place. Either way, the sooner you take action, the quicker you can avoid a costly accident on your farm.
Farm Building Safety Tips
- Place stickers on every door, open space or areas for direction
- To avoid injuries, do not leave sharp tools like nails on the floor
- Farm buildings and workshop should be well-lit for easy movement
- Take care of your farm. These include weed management, pest management, waste disposal, etc.
- Keep tools, chemicals, and plastic bags away from children’s reach
- Establish barriers/boundaries around areas like power station (generating plant), gas cylinders, flammable substances, etc.
Farm Personnel Safety Tips
- Always read the safety instructions on entering a farm especially a farm that you have never visited before or a farm that you don’t visit frequently.
- Always wear the right clothing especially when farm operations are on. Also, wear them the right way. Wear the hats and goggles the way it is meant to be worn and not the way you’d rather wear it. Safety before fashion.
- Don’t take a day off your safety routine. It only takes a simple mistake or misstep for an accident to occur
- If you are visiting, respect boundaries and don’t wander off. Heavy duty work, like felling trees, may be in progress and may catch you unawares
Farm Equipment Safety Tips
There are general safety tips that apply to all farm tools and equipment, like storage after use, but there are several precautions you can take for heavy-duty equipment used on the farm. Let’s take a look at each of this equipment:
- If someone is not absolutely required to be where a tractor is being operated, they shouldn’t be there
- A tractor can be as high as 14 feet so you can safely assume that the tractor operator may not see everyone on his path. To avoid a run over, keep people at a distance
- Equip your tractor with a rollover protection system (ROPS) to prevent the tractor operator from injuries in case there is a vehicle overturn. Also, buy a seat belt and necessary accessories
- In a tractor, two is a crowd. Only assign one operator, that is, one rider to a tractor
- Park tractors in a secure, well-ventilated area
Particularly chainsaws are a valuable tool in the farm and they are used for felling or chopping trees.
They are also the cause of several accidents on the farm and preventive measures must be taken if this tool is to be used safely.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 36,000 people are injured by chainsaws annually. These tips will hopefully help you prevent chainsaw accidents:
- Chainsaws are one of the most dangerous power tools you can purchase so only well-trained personnel should be allowed to handle it
- Store well and keep away from the reach of children
- Operator fatigue is one leading cause of chainsaw accidents. Understand your work capacity and once you reach that level, stop working with the chainsaw
- Use the right saw specifications and settings for the job required
- Check the area before you begin work to ensure there are no nails or materials that can be injurious while a sawing operation is ongoing
- According to the CDC website, a safe distance for co-workers while a felling tree operation is ongoing is at least 2 tree lengths, that is 150 feet away or at least 30 feet from anyone operating a chainsaw.
Conveyor belts are used to effectively and efficiently transport materials in bulk on the farm. They are cost effective and used to transport agriculture items like grains, fruits, vegetables, coal, etc in bulk to the truck where it is then be delivered to its final destination. Here are some safety tips for conveyor belts:
- The conveyor belt should be properly installed
- The conveyor belt should be properly maintained, ideally, a service timetable should be adhered to
- Workers that are responsible for conveyor belt operation must be well-trained. On top of that, workers should be trained on an ongoing basis.
- Unauthorised personnel should not be allowed during conveyor belt installation
- When a defect is found in the conveyor belt, such as a defect in the compression ignition engine system, the conveyor belt should be immediately discontinued.
- The conveyor belt should be kept in a well-ventilated area to avoid buildup of diesel fumes that can cause a spark when the engine is started
Fire Prevention Safety Measures in the Farm
Farm fires can destroy months of hard work; loss of crops, livestock and expensive farm machinery all in one single fire outbreak. We have identified the leading causes of fire outbreaks in the farm and hope that this information will help you prevent fire hazards:
- The first thing to check is the wiring in your barn or farm building. Barns with old outdated wiring may not have the capacity to handle new heavy farm equipment like tractors and can cause electrical fires..
- Old equipment with bad wiring can also cause a fire if they get in touch with combustible surfaces like floors, hay, etc.
- Most farmers are not knowledgeable about the wattages they need for their electrical appliances, and using the wattages that is too high for your appliances is a leading cause of electrical fires
- Avoid smoking on your farm. A cigarette that is not properly extinguished and discarded on your farmland can cause a fire
- Fire extinguishers should be properly installed in strategic areas such as at exit points of your farm building. Also, install fire signs explaining what people should do in case of a fire
- Train your personnel on using a fire extinguisher in case of a fire
- If possible, dig a well or have a water source on your farm. This will help the fire department in case of a fire
- When refueling your farm machinery, do it away from open flames and in an open area where the fumes can easily vaporize
Livestock Safety and Security
- Inspect the area where animals graze to remove sharp harmful objects that can harm the animals
- Build a tall wired fence or employ scare tactics to keep predators out.
- Regularly inspect your livestock to spot diseases and treat them immediately from spreading to other animals and workers on your farm
- Pay special care to animals in their birthing season. They may be aggressive and hurt other animals
- Buy a farm insurance package from any leading insurance firms in your locality
You may not be able to 100% execute these farm safety tips, but you sure can work on implementing most of the strategies to safeguard your farm.
Preventing an accident on your farm cost way less in the long run than waiting for one to happen before taking appropriate measures.
Each farm will prevent its own unique safety challenges so be vigilant and make farm safety a priority.