Animals are a great aspect of farm life, but they can also be a threat to the safety of those working with them. Livestock is a major source of injuries to children in agricultural settings. The size difference, an animal’s unpredictability, and children’s lack of knowledge or skills puts children at risk.
Children often don’t view livestock as dangerous, yet, animals cause numerous fatalities and injuries each year. When working with livestock it is important to realize some of the differences between how animals and humans sense their surroundings. In comparison to humans, animals:
- See in black and white, not color
- Have difficulty judging distances
- Have extremely sensitive hearing
- Are frightened by loud noises and high frequency sounds hurt
- Are very protective of their young.
Many of these factors cause animals to respond as skittish and frightened of unfamiliar surroundings. Chores involving livestock care and handling are often one of the first responsibilities given to children, increasing their exposure to the dangers at an early age. When working around animals encourage your children to:
- Be calm, move slowly, and avoid loud noises
- Wear steel toed shoes
- Avoid the hind legs of animals
- Approach large animals at the shoulder
- Avoid animals with babies
- Avoid stallions, bulls, rams, and boars
- Always have an escape route when working in close quarters
Even though an animal may look friendly, all animals need to be treated with respect. They can be unpredictable. Teach children to be alert when around livestock and while working with them.
*This post was submitted by Tracy Schlater, Marketing Director from Farm Safety 4 Just Kids
Believe it or not, but winter is a very common season for fires due to the use of additional heat sources. Fire can be particularly destructive on the farm. From property to lives, take a few steps to prevent it from happening to you.
Children, especially age 5 and under, are at the greatest risk of home fire-related death and injury. Young children don’t know what to do and are likely to panic in a fire. They may hide in a closet or behind a bed instead of escaping. Practice fire drills at home once a year. Show your children all of the safe ways to escape a fire from every room of the house and every building on the farm. Designate a meeting place outside and make it part of the drill. One way to prevent fires in the house is to install smoke detectors. There should be a smoke detector on every level and outside bedrooms.
Fire extinguishers are essential items on the farm in case a fire breaks out. Besides the house, keep fire extinguishers in barns, other farm buildings, and machinery including tractors and combines. The local fire department is a terrific resource as well. Ask them to help you start the process of protecting your farm from fire. Both you and the fire department will be better prepared if a fire should occur.
And follow these fire safety precautions on the farm:
- Test smoke detectors once a month and replace the batteries twice a year (when you change your clocks for daylight savings).
- Replace smoke detectors that are ten years of age or older.
- Place proper fire extinguishers in strategic locations, making sure they are accessible.
- Get training on how to use fire extinguishers.
- Plan your escape routes.
- Designate one place outside where family members should meet in case of fire.
- Keep matches away from children.
- Don’t enter a confined livestock area or housing structure if it catches on fire.
- Install lightning rods.
- Store gasoline and other flammable fuels in proper containers in a cool place.
- Turn off engines when refueling machines.
Farm safety is increasingly important as machinery becomes larger and more complex and operations work more hours per day. Accidents can not only be harmful, but can cost the farm valuable uptime needed to be successful in today’s economy. We’ve composed a few basic shop safety tips that can help ensure you return home safely every day.
1. Make sure that your work or maintenance area is swept and all spills are cleaned up after working on each of your machines. Slippery floors caused by spilled oil, fuel or water are often causes of accidents. Wearing shoes or boots with treads can help prevent slipping.
2. Never climb on top of shelves, boxes, or chairs when trying to reach something high up; use a ladder that is appropriate for the situation.
3. Back muscle strains are one of the most common types of injuries, causing almost 900,000 disabling injuries each year; half of which are caused by improper techniques. You first need to look at what you are lifting and ask yourself if you think you can do it by yourself. If you have any doubts, it is much safer to ask for help than to injure yourself. Bend down at the knees instead of with your back. This allows you to keep balanced easier, have more power when lifting, and reduces the chance of straining back muscles. When lifting, tighten your stomach muscles and look straight ahead. Doing so alleviates using your back and can prevent injury. While carrying the load, hold the object as close as you can to your body as possible and set down the object by using the same technique as lifting.
4. Make sure to wear protective equipment when working on machines. Wearing protective eyewear, ear protection, gloves, and masks to protect your body from burns, cuts, dangerous chemicals and loose debris in the machinery.
5. Be aware of children and pets when moving or starting equipment. Consider purchasing an AGCO AgCam backup camera to have a clear view when maneuvering in reverse.
6. Stay out of filled grain bins and wagons to avoid entrapment and suffocation. If you must enter a grain bin, ensure that machinery is not running and locked out to keep someone from starting the equipment. Wear a harness attached to a properly secured rope and have someone supervising the process to ensure your safety.
7. Most importantly, AGCO wants to remind all farmers that proper training is the best way to ensure you and your employees are safe and help avoid accidents. Consider developing a safety program that educates all employees on the farm of potential risks and what to do if there is an accident. Spend time and walk around your farm, inspecting all equipment and machines to ensure the risk level is minimized.
What are some other ways you are focusing on safety at your farm or business?
National Farm Safety and Health Week is the week of September 16th. What a great time to talk about safety on your farm.
Have you ever had a close call on your farm? Something that could have ended very differently. How many of you know a family member, friend, or neighbor who got hurt working on a farm? Do any of you have the heavy heart that comes from knowing someone who died on the farm? Most farmers will point out their scars and tell the story of their close call(s) amongst each other. Usually in context, they’re no more than stories with a plot line, a climax, and hopefully – a happy ending. Very real people become characters in a tale. This week, tell your story. The whole story. How much worse could it have been? How much was the hospital bill? How much time did you miss working? How much money did you lose as a result of the lost production? How did getting hurt impact your family, your kids? And most importantly Did you change anything because of it? Make it personal, because the person listening needs to know it’s more than just a story. You’re real. Accidents… are real. And sometimes, they’re preventable. September 16-22 is National Farm Safety and Health Week. Use your story to tell at least two others about farm safety this week and share them on Twitter using #FSHW12 and Facebook.
*This post was submitted by Tracy Schlater, Marketing Director from Farm Safety 4 Just Kids
Children are naturally curious, especially younger children. And there are a lot of things to be curious about on the farm! But that curiosity can unknowingly lead them into dangerous places. A safe play area is a great way to ensure the safety of kids on the farm. Here are a few tips to help you establish a safe play area.
• Separated from traffic and work areas.
• Easily identifiable boundaries. Fences are ideal.
• An area easily supervised, such as looking out a back window.
• Free from dangerous debris.
• Plenty of room to run and explore.
• Safe and age-appropriate play equipment.
If you can’t fence the play area, use landmarks: a tree, a bush, a pole, a driveway. Walk the boundary with your children. Explain the boundary is important because it keeps them safe, and go over any consequences of breaking the boundary rule. Keep in mind the boundary is only the first line of defense. Supervision is critical, and not just for play areas without a fence.
Give children reasons to stay in the identified play area. Provide appropriate play items, such as swings, a sand box, or playhouse, which make the play area appealing to children. If the farmstead is more enticing than the designated play area, your efforts may not be effective.
A safe outdoor play area away from livestock, traffic and machinery is essential for children to grow up safe and healthy on a farm or ranch. Let’s keep our next generation of rural children safe!
For more information on farm safety, or to learn how to start a chapter, visitwww.fs4jk.org.
*This post was submitted by Tracy Schlater from Farm Safety 4 Just Kids