Fall is the busiest and, unfortunately, the most dangerous time of the year in agriculture. That is why September 17–23 is recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week – and we can all learn something. The theme for 2023 is No One Can Take Your Place. Although you may not live or work on a farm, one thing we have in common is the need to follow similar safety measures.
Read the Manual!
Have you ever started a project using a power tool or a new lawn tractor but didn’t bother to check out the owner’s manual? The information in the manual is for your safety and shows how to properly use and maintain the product. It also provides information on the parts that are included in the equipment. If parts are missing, broken, or have been removed, don’t use the equipment until fully assembled.
Dressing the part is another takeaway we can learn from farm safety. For example, it’s not a good idea to mow a steep, grassy hill while wearing flip-flops. Choosing the right clothing for the task can be as simple as wearing good-fitting, protective shoes. To guard your eyes and lungs, wear adequate PPE when doing tasks, especially outdoors—such as protective glasses and a mask to keep foreign particles (or bugs!) from hurting your eyes or being inhaled.
Duct Tape Woes
A motorhome seen parked on the side of the road had a flopping utility door, so the owner had slapped on some duct tape. The temporary fix won’t last for the life of the vehicle, but it worked for a short time. Proper equipment maintenance means if something is broken beyond repair, “you’ve got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em,” as advised in the Kenny Rogers’ song. Don’t try to fix something that will never be safe to use again. It’s always best to invest in quality equipment and take good care of it than to keep trying to patch up something that has seen better days and should be replaced – for your safety!
Teach Your Children Well
Agricultural safety awareness aims to provide education, training, and resources to make farm, ranch, and rural life safer and healthier for children and their communities. Fun and educational offerings that have a farm flavor abound in many areas of the state, and fall is a great time to participate with your family. Teach them how to be responsible for personal safety, respect the safety rules, and share the safety information they’ve learned with their family and friends. For topic ideas to share with your children and free Zoom webinars for adults, visit the National Farm Safety & Health Week Webinar Series.
Farm Safety Week is a good reminder to learn and practice safety measures wherever you live and work.
Farm First Aid Kits
The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) has Farm First Aid Kits available for purchase that meet the needs of people working in agriculture. Designed with farm injuries in mind, the kits contain first aid supplies that are useful in an emergency response or for everyday use. Farm First Aid Kits have been placed in tractors, combines, UTVs, farm shops, dairy/hog barns, automobiles, and boats and have traveled with students to college. Farm First Aid Kits also make great holiday gifts.