You can start by increasing your awareness of farming hazards and making a conscious effort to prepare for emergency situations including fires, vehicle accidents, electrical shocks from equipment and wires and chemical exposures.
Be especially alert to hazards that may affect children and the elderly. Minimize hazards by carefully selecting the products you buy to ensure that you provide good tools and equipment. Always use seat belts when operating tractors, and establish and maintain good housekeeping practices. Here are some other steps you can take to reduce illnesses and injuries on the farm:
• Read and follow instructions in equipment operator’s manuals and on product labels.
• Inspect equipment routinely for problems that may cause accidents.
• Discuss safety hazards and emergency procedures with your workers.
• Install approved rollover protective structures, protective enclosures, or protective frames on tractors.
• Make sure that guards on farm equipment are replaced after maintenance.
• Review and follow instructions in material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and on labels that come with chemical products and communicate information on these hazards to your workers.
• Take precautions to prevent entrapment and suffocation caused by unstable surfaces of grain storage bins, silos or hoppers. Never “walk the grain.”
• Be aware that methane gas, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide can form in unventilated grain silos and manure pits and can suffocate or poison workers or explode.
• Take advantage of safety equipment, such as bypass starter covers, power take-off master shields, and slow-moving vehicle emblems.
Better safety and health practices reduce worker fatalities, injuries, and illnesses as well as associated costs such as workers’ compensation insurance premiums, lost production and medical expenses. A safer and more healthful workplace improves morale and productivity.