Submitted By: Samantha Gehrett, Penn State Extension Dairy Educator
As the seasons change from summer to fall it is important to remember to practice proactive agricultural safety. Knowing how and where on-farm accidents can happen is critical to staying safe. Even if you are simply a visitor on a farm, you should always be aware of potential dangers.
In 2021, there were sixteen known farm and agricultural fatalities in Pennsylvania, and even more in 2020 at 39. In the past several weeks, there have been three fatalities in the south-central part of Pennsylvania. Safety must remain at the forefront of our minds during this busy harvest season. Utilizing the steps below can assist you/your farm’s operation in maintaining a safety standard on the farm.
Establish safety policies and procedures.
Your business’s safety policy statement should be your safety program’s foundation. A safety policy is a set of targets, purposes, and operational practices created and approved by the farm owner/manager. The policy should be written and then shared with all individuals on the farm The policy should include the most important safety and health measures for all employees, family members, managers, and owners. It should also identify ways employees can actively develop and implement the plan.
Identifying and assessing hazards and risks.
A list of methods the business can use to inspect and/or monitor the worksite for hazardous equipment, chemicals, and environmental conditions should be included. It should include control procedures for eliminating or reducing employee, customer, and public hazards.
Preventing and controlling hazards and risks.
Eliminating hazardous conditions is the most effective approach to preventing injury and property loss. Management should make specific statements in the written safety program regarding risk reduction such as the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Educating and training employees.
All aspects of employee training and education concerning hazardous work conditions and safe work procedures are part of safety and health planning. The timing and type of training are crucial. Training and education should take place before new workers start work.
Evaluating training programs and resources.
The only way to determine if safety and health training has been effective in correcting hazards and reducing risk is to evaluate the training program. Methods include:
Observing employees after the training has been conducted. This is referred to as observational analysis.
Administer short pre- and post-tests before and after the training session to determine if the desired knowledge gain has been achieved. Have employees demonstrate their newly learned skills and capabilities after completing the training.
Remember, there are numerous safety hazards on farms that we should always be aware of. Doing everything that we can to bring awareness to those and implement safety procedures around the farm are steps that we can take to try and be more proactive with agricultural safety.
The Penn State Extension Dairy Team is offering an Ag Safety Day in Carlisle, PA on October 21st from 8am to 2pm. This program is geared towards first responders but is open to anyone that is interested. First responders should be aware of the hazards present on farms when responding to a 911 call, this event will help introduce some of those topics. First responders need to be prepared for potential hazards surrounding machinery, chemicals, and animals that may be present on the farm. This workshop will make attendees aware of these hazards and help first responders better protect themselves and those they are trying to help. You can register for this event on the PSU Extension website-https://extension.psu.edu/farm-safety-day or by calling 1-877-345-0691. If you have any questions, please contact Samantha Gehrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-240-6500.