While conducting a training session at a dairy in Visalia, calif., I became aware that one of the supervisors was unable to attend because of an accident the day before — the skid-loader he was driving turned over. Fortunately, he walked away with only a broken arm, but it could have been much worse.

Dairy farming is a dangerous occupation, and extra safety precautions are necessary. Everyone should look for ways to establish a “culture of safety” on their operations.

When safety becomes a part of your farm’s culture, safety behaviors are openly displayed. For example, when you drive a loader to add feed ingredients to a mixer, you drive carefully.   In a culture of safety, not only do you display safe behaviors, you encourage others to behave that way as well. 

Establishing a successful safety program includes:

  • Understanding that all work accidents can be prevented.
  • Making sure that safety is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Seeing it as a good business practice.
  • Providing safety training.
  • Immediately correcting any unsafe actions and conditions.
  • Investigating all possible places where accidents can occur.
  • Recognizing that people are the central element in any safety program.

What will it take to change the way safety is viewed on your dairy?

Jorge M. Estrada is editor of Manejo Lechero and president of Leadership Coaching International, Inc. He is an organizational development consultant, leadership coach, and trainer.