8 Agricultural Safety Practices And Tips For Farmers
Farming is one of the more dangerous occupations today.
Farmers and farm hands work a hard day with long hours. The amount of physical and mental stress that a farmer has to learn to work through makes them vulnerable to making harmful mistakes. Couple that with their constant use of heavy machinery and potentially hazardous tools, and you have a recipe for disaster. One small mistake can be extremely costly for a farm.
This is why farms have been developing comprehensive agricultural safety protocols for their farmhands to follow. Spending time and money preparing workers to follow these protocols may seem costly at first glance, but will save your farm lots of money in the long run.
Costs Of Farming Injuries
If you aren’t spending a significant amount of time teaching your worker’s safety procedures, then you aren’t practicing agricultural safety. At some point, you will have a workplace injury that will set you back significantly. Here are just a few reasons to rethink farm safety:
If one of your workers injures himself on the job, it is up to you to make sure they’re fixed up. Medical bills, depending on the type of worker’s compensation insurance you have, can really add up fast. See to it that your workers never need medical attention on the job.
Your best worker, who was highly trained with all of your equipment, just fell off a tractor and broke his foot. You need to harvest 3 fields by early next week. How are you going to find someone who can fill his shoes while he’s out? If this happens right in the middle of the season you may need to find someone who can take over his position for the remainder of it.
As I mentioned above, there are constant deadlines that need to be met. If you’re down a worker, especially a skilled one, you’re going to have a tough time staying caught up unless you’re able to find someone fast.
In some farm accidents, a worker can damage a very expensive piece of equipment. The cost of fixing it will likely be high, and it will be put up for the time being. If they damaged the equipment in the middle of a big job, you need to find a way to get the job done without it.
8 Tips For Safer Farming
Now that you have seen the potential risks involved in agricultural safety, it’s time to talk about a plan. There are many different things that a farm can do to keep their workers and investments safe. We have just a few tips that will help send you in the right direction:
Develop and follow comprehensive safety protocols. This takes considerable time to spend a few weeks in the offseason training your workers proper and safe procedures. This one will really pay off in the long run. Osha has put together programs that you can implement at your farm. Consider taking on one of these programs.
About 90% of all farm injuries are entirely avoidable. One of the main reasons why injuries happen is because workers are under stress and are rushing to finish a job. Keeping a good pace is important, but rushing can easily cause dangerous mistakes to be made. As I said above, injuries and accidents set your timeline you back even further.
Know Your Farm’s Limits
It may seem like it’s a good idea to take on that extra job, your farm can handle it, right? If you expect too much from your workers they will be under more stress and will rush to meet deadlines.
Spend some time in the offseason making sure your equipment and farm is free from unnecessary hazards. If every time a worker leaves the barn they have to step over a hose, you have a trip hazard. You can deal with those hazards before someone gets hurt.
It may be hard to teach some workers to be aware of hazards, but you can always keep an eye out. Teach your top guys to constantly be looking for hazards and have them fixed on the spot.
Give your workers several breaks throughout the day. Safety on the farm requires everyone to be alert at all times. Long hours and inadequate breaks make for a dangerous situation.
Pay your farm hands a good, livable wage and they will, in general, be better workers. Here are 7 reasons why this will be beneficial to you and your farm. You will find that when you pay employees well they are more driven to work hard and will have their head on straight. This definitely benefits the welfare of your farm.
Part of being a good manager is keeping morale up. If your workers are dealing with stress and their spirits are low, they aren’t thinking about safety. Accidents happen when spirits are low and keeping everyone happy and awake is good for everyone involved.
Practicing agricultural safety is very important for your farm. Spend some time and money ensuring the safety of your workers and your investment will pay off.