Note: The following Tip of the Week is available through the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association.
All farms, regardless of size and location, should have a safety program. According to the national statistics for Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2011, the third highest fatality rate occurred in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sectors.
Farm workers are exposed to hazards on a daily basis. Some high-risk factors include handling large machinery and equipment, exposure to extreme heat/cold and animal handling. To reduce the number of accidents, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific rules for farms.
Some safety tips outlined in the OSHA Fact Sheet include:
- Increasing awareness of the various farming hazards to which you and your employees are exposed.
- Having an emergency action plan for situations such as vehicle accidents.
- Always use seat belts when operating tractors, and establish and maintain good housekeeping practices.
- It is important to read and follow instructions in equipment operator's manuals and on product labels.
- Equipment should be inspected routinely.
- Discuss safety and emergency procedures and ensure they are being followed.
There are severe ramifications for not implementing and following safety programs. Depending on the severity of a violation, fines can range from several hundred to thousands dollars.
It's important to know what you need to do to ensure your facility is in compliance. If you do not have a safety program, consider implementing one.Providing better safety and health practices, can help you prevent fatalities, injuries, illnesses and costs associated with worker's compensation.
Your employees are one of your biggest assets, and a safer and more healthful workplace not only saves lives, but improves morale and productivity.
For additional information, please refer to the OSHA Fact Sheet: Farm Safety.