Ag safety means a continuous focus on doing the right things

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

Today through Thursday, our Division of Safety & Hygiene will once again have a presence at the Farm Science Review.

For the third straight year, we’ll have a booth at this annual event hosted by The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Preparing for the event reminded us of a series of articles about safety in the agricultural industry published by Ohio’s Country Journal earlier this year.

The articles (links below) focused on topics ranging from using injury data to prevent future accidents, to the development of an innovative hog loader and to creating a culture of safety in an agricultural workplace.

“I was struck by an underlying theme throughout these articles: that having a safe and healthful work environment requires a continuous, consistent and unrelenting emphasis on doing the right things,” says Bernie Silkowski, director of loss prevention operations with our Division of Safety & Hygiene.

He says this includes management setting the tone by:

  • Assessing the workplace for hazards.
  • Establishing and reinforcing safety procedures and expectations.
  • Providing training and making sure everyone understands and applies it.
  • Seeking employee input about safety issues.
  • Providing the right tools, equipment and PPE to enable everyone to perform their tasks safely.

At the same time, it’s also about employees:

  • Adhering to safe work procedures and not taking shortcuts.
  • Continuously assessing the hazards while performing their work.
  • Pausing to reassess when things aren’t going according to plan.
  • Wearing PPE properly.
  • Approaching a fellow employee who is taking a risk.

“All of these things have to exist all the time for a workplace to be considered high performing in safety and health,” Silkowski adds.

These articles mention a lot of things that high-performing safety organizations do, often with little or no cost. Starting every meeting with a short safety topic costs nothing and keeps everyone’s mind on safety. Requiring hearing protection around loud machinery costs little and helps prevent hearing loss which can take years to develop. Finally, the cost of guarding moving parts on machinery is nothing compared to the costs and disability that can result if an arm becomes caught inside.

The most effective way for an organization to get started on its safety journey – or to see how it’s doing on its own – is to bring in a third party to do a safety assessment and help develop a safety process that works for the employer. Our safety consultants provide this service as part of the premium employers pay to BWC.

We’re here to help protect Ohioans in the agriculture industry. If you’re going to the Farm Science Review this week, stop by exhibit building 2, booth 32 to learn more about how we can help make your farm or business an even safer workplace.

Ohio’s Country Journal articles

One thought on “Ag safety means a continuous focus on doing the right things

  1. Pingback: Talk safety with us at the Farm Science Review | BWC Blog

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