What could be better and safer than living on a farm away from traffic and the hazards associated with urban living? As it turns out, life on a farm isn’t all that safe after all. According to the number of fatalities, agriculture ranks as the third most hazardous occupation in Canada. More than 70 percent of those deaths involved farm machinery. Farm owners and workers can reduce the risk of suffering a serious injury by engaging in a few safety practices.
Conduct periodic safety inspections
Fire hazards and improperly stored chemicals and other hazardous materials can be discovered by doing an inspection of the buildings and grounds around the farm. Once a hazardous condition is revealed, steps should be taken to correct it.
Some of the things you might look for during a safety inspection could include:
- Tall grass and weeds that could hide objects or obstacles that could be a danger to operators of tractors, other farm machinery and all-terrain vehicles should be cut back.
- Tools left on the ground in or around barns and other buildings that could cause someone to trip and be injured should be removed and properly stored to be out of the way.
- Fuel tanks for gasoline, diesel fuel and propane should be clearly marked and surrounded by a safety perimeter to keep vehicles and farm machinery from running into them.
- Chemicals and hazardous materials should be stored in containers that are clearly marked with the name of the contents written on the outside. The containers should be stored in a safe place.
- Check electrical connections and wiring in barns and other structures to ensure they will not spark and cause a fire.
Practicing personal safety
It is common for people working on farms to work alone, but there are times when you should have someone with you in case of an accident. Anytime you enter a high-risk area, such as a breeding pen or grain silo, you should have someone standing by in case you need help.
When you are working with or operating machinery and equipment, always wear clothing that does not hang loose. Loose clothing, wrist watches or chains worn around the neck can get snagged and cause you to be seriously injured.
Use appropriate safety equipment. Safety glasses and earplugs or other hearing protection should be worn when on or around machinery and equipment. When using chemicals or working in dusty conditions, you should always were a respirator and gloves.
Operation of farm machinery and equipment
No one should be allowed to operate tractors or other pieces of farm equipment without being properly trained in their safe operation. Tractors should be equipped with bars or cages to protect the operator in the event of a roll over.
Keeping barns or buildings closed when repairing and maintaining machinery or equipment during the cold months of winter might keep you warm, but it can be a deadly practice if you have the engine running without proper ventilation. You should also be careful about leaving machinery running without first checking to make certain it is not in drive and the brake is engaged.
Fires can occur while operating farm machinery, such as tractors. Make certain each piece of machinery is equipped with at least one fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.
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