Farm Safety – Make It A Priority
by Chad Colby
Published in Farmers Hotline
“One child dies every three days on a farm. Every day 38 kids are injured in an agricultural related accident. It’s estimated that over 7700 kids were hurt on a farm in 2012.” – Farm Safety for Just Kids. The facts are very simple; our love for farming is dangerous occupation. Add in that most farming operations are family owned and operated and safety becomes even more important.
I would like to share a story of a close friend of mine, who had a very serious accident on his 100+ year old family farm located in central Illinois.
Several years ago I was traveling at lot for work and, for some reason, I decided to come home—which I normally didn’t do during the week. Shortly before I arrived home I got one of the phone calls that no one ever wants to get—there had been a serious accident.
The oldest son of my life long friend had been involved in an incident while unloading a grain bin. The son had gotten caught in the running grain sweep. We all have our beliefs, and this is one of those times that I felt this was the reason I came home.
After a long day of driving I went directly to the hospital to meet my grieving friend. There were less than a dozen words exchanged. The tearful hugs amongst grown men said it all. The son was hurt on the father’s watch; and the pain in my friend’s heart was visible. It’s been a heavy burden for my dear friend to carry, but just so glad it wasn’t worse than it was. Years later, after several surgeries his son is all right, but will always have small issues from the accident.
On a family operated farm the next generation learns from their predecessors. The truth remains that regardless of the number of safety lesson and lectures, one quick mistake and you can be in a life threatening trouble.
So where does that leave us? During harvest season, as well as planting, farmers are under extreme pressure to bring in high numbers and do it all as quickly and efficiently as possible. As our machinery gets bigger and more automated we need to take the time to properly run the equipment. Take the extra minute to double check our safety precautions. The majority of serious farm accidents often involve machinery, and a large portion of these accidents could be prevented.
Farm Safety for Just Kids has some great tips for Harvest Safety.
Here are a few things that will help make your harvest season a safe one for the entire family:
- Carry out preseason maintenance and repairs before harvest
- Clear plugged equipment only after power is turned off
- All guards and shields should be secured before equipment is started
- Wear comfortable clothing, including protective shoes
- Supervise kids when they’re in the vicinity of machinery
- Always tell someone where you’re working and check in regularly
- Avoid sleep deprivation and extreme physical exhaustion
Please remember to talk about farm safety with all your operators and make safety a priority in 2014!
Learn more from http://www.farmsafetyforjustkids.com
By Chad Colby – Twitter: @TheChadColby