Agriculture safety means continuous focus on doing the right thing

By Bruce Loughner, CSP, Technical Safety Resource Consultant

The annual Farm Science Review serves as a reminder to protect farm workers from hazards that may lead to injury or death. The event, sponsored by The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Science, focuses on education in the agricultural industry.

Whether you plan to attend Farm Science Review this week or want to brush up on agricultural safety from home, we’ve put together some resources to help.

Farm hazards and controls

Overexertion is the leading accident type on most types of farms. Strains and sprains can result in serious injuries. These are typically caused by lifting, pulling, pushing, and carrying activities. To avoid overexertion:

  • Take frequent breaks during periods of heavy exertion.
  • Adjust work to waist to shoulder level.
  • Consider heat stress mitigation including rest periods.
  • Use specialized mechanical lifting equipment.
  • Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for using equipment.
  • Simplify or combine processes to reduce the amount of handling and repositioning.
  • Make sure you have enough working space to allow for good body positioning. Use portable positioning blocks, support surfaces, pry bars, levers, clamps, vises, chains, slings, rollers, etc. to minimize manual force.
  • Use slings, handholds, or other means of ensuring good grip and control.
  • Always get help when lifting or repositioning heavy items.

Working with machinery can also lead to potential hazards. For example, hearing loss may result from exposure to loud farm equipment. Also, entanglement, or getting caught in a machine, may lead to severe injury or death. To prevent these hazards:

  • Use hearing protection such as ear plugs or muffs to prevent hearing loss.
  • Maintain equipment according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Perform a pre-operational service check before operating machinery and correct any problems before starting. Always read and follow all instructions in the operator’s manuals.
  • Ensure appropriate training before operating. 
  • Use guarding supplied by the manufacturer.  
  • Always use the rollover protective system with tractors and mowers. Tractor rollover is another leading cause of death on farms.
  • Wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, aprons, and helmets. Wear proper clothing for the task such as long pants, work boots, gloves, and long sleeves. Do not wear items that could become entangled in moving machine parts such as jewelry, drawstrings, ties, or loose clothing.
  • Tie back or otherwise secure loose hair but be aware that even short or tied-back hair may become entangled in moving equipment.

In addition to these tips, BWC’s Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH) recommends creating a culture of safety within your organization. Simple actions, like starting every meeting with a short safety topic, can help to keep everyone’s mind on safety.

DSH resources

In July 2021, BWC and the Ohio On-Site Consultation Program joined an alliance with the Ohio Agribusiness Association and the four Ohio area offices of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to raise awareness and develop safety education and training specific to the Ohio agribusiness industry. Stay tuned for future safety education and training specific to the Ohio agribusiness industry.

If you have questions on improving safety, reducing risk factors, or other occupational safety and health topics, BWC is here to help. Reach out to one of our BWC safety consultants online for assistance or call 1-800-644-6292. Don’t forget to take advantage of our other safety services as well. DSH offers a wide range of services for all industries at no additional cost to employers, including safety education and training and the BWC safety and video library.

We also have additional resources available online for farmers:

Talk safety with us at the Farm Science Review

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

With nearly 78,000 farms producing $9.3 billion in revenue, Ohio is one of the top five states in the U.S. for agriculture.

This robust industry remains a critical component of Ohio’s economy and one of the state’s major industries for employment. It’s also high-hazard work with great potential for workplace injuries and, unfortunately, even fatalities.

With all of this in mind, our Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH) is once again promoting its programs and services at the Farm Science Review – one of the premier agricultural trade and education shows in the nation. Hosted by The Ohio State University, the event starts today and runs through Thursday at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio.

For the fourth consecutive year, DSH representatives will be available at our booth to speak with attendees about the free programs and services we offer to assist employers and workers in Ohio’s agribusiness.

For example, our industrial hygienists can help farms guard against environmental hazards, including chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, dust, mold, and extreme noise and temperatures.

Our ergonomists can illustrate ways to cut down on hazards resulting from:

  • Manual materials handling.
  • Repetitive, hand-intensive work.
  • Poor workstation design.
  • Sedentary work.

Our safety consultants can help prevent common but costly injuries to protect the bottom line of Ohio’s agriculture businesses and their workers.

If you’re going to Farm Science Review this week, stop by and see us! We’re booth No. 32 in Building 513.

Related links

 

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

Protecting Ohioans on National Ag Day and every day

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

Today is the first day of spring! And, fittingly, it’s also National Ag Day in the U.S.

The Agriculture Council of America started National Ag Day 45 years ago to recognize and celebrate the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives.

National Ag Day also encourages all of us to:

  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced;
  • Value the vital role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy;
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

With 74,500 farms in 2016* and nearly 14 million acres of farmland in Ohio**, agriculture remains one of our state’s strongest industries. And all those farms equal thousands of workers in Ohio’s ag industry, workers that deserve a safe, healthy working environment.

We’re here to do our part by providing on-site consultation services to help farms and agricultural businesses to recognize hazards and take actions to prevent workplace incidents. We also offer training courses at locations throughout the state to make it easy for workers to attend.

Additionally, we have conducted outreach on grain bin safety and developed educational materials about the dangers associated with grain bins. Our library offers many resources on agricultural safety, including a variety of audiovisual materials for borrowing.

During the past few years, we’ve had a booth at the annual Farm Science Review, one of the premier agricultural trade and education shows in the nation.

Being at the event – hosted by OSU Extension – has given us the opportunity to meet face-to-face with farmers and others from Ohio agribusiness.

At BWC, we’re serious about protecting farmers and Ohio’s agricultural workforce. It’s only right that we recognize and protect those who provide life’s essentials to us on National Ag Day and every day.

*USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service
**USDA, 2012 Census of Agriculture

 

Protecting Ohioans in agriculture

By Erik Harden, BWC Public Information Officer

Agriculture has always been a critical component of Ohio’s economy and one of the state’s major industries for employment.

According to the National Safety Council, agriculture is also the most hazardous industry in the country. Each day, almost 100 agriculture workers in the U.S. suffer a lost-time work injury, with 60 percent related to overexertion or slips, trips and falls.

With all of this in mind, BWC’s Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH) decided once again to promote its products and services at the Farm Science Review – one of the premier agricultural trade and education shows in the nation. Hosted by The Ohio State University, this year’s event runs Sept. 19-21 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio.

For the second straight year, representatives from DSH will staff a booth to engage visitors about the free programs and services we offer to assist employers and workers in Ohio’s agribusiness.

For example, our industrial hygienists can help farms guard against environmental hazards, including chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, dust, mold, extreme noise and temperature extremes.

Our ergonomists can illustrate ways to cut down on hazards resulting from:

  • Manual materials handling;
  • Repetitive, hand-intensive work;
  • Poor workstation design;
  • Sedentary work.

The average cost of a lost-time claim for Ohio agriculture companies* is a little more than $52,000. Our safety consultants can help prevent common but costly injuries to protect the bottom line of Ohio’s agriculture businesses and their workers.

If you’re going to Farm Science Review this week, stop by and see us! We’re booth No. 32 in Building 513.     

Related links
Grain Storage and Handling Operations – The Deadliest Hazards
Safe at Work, Safe at Home  

*With 10 to 49 employees