Whether you are a new farmer or have been farming for years, you are probably always looking for ways to keep your farm, and everyone who works and visits there, safe. Accidents and injuries on the farm can be costly, not only in terms of medical bills, but also in lost productivity when workers are injured, or processes are impaired.
The reality is that farming accidents are common and can happen at any time. They are sometimes caused by negligence, but more often than not, they are completely out of your control. Accidents can happen on any farm, and there are some preventative measures that every farmer should take to avoid having accidents on their property. By simply being aware of the dangers and taking steps to make your farm safe for everyone who works on it, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of accidents happening on your farm.
Here are seven simple tips that will help new and experienced farmers alike avoid common accidents.
- Know the Safety Procedures for Handling Animals
Always be careful when working around animals. Do not let yourself get distracted or lose awareness of the environment around you. You never know when an animal will become spooked or agitated. You should always be aware of how the animals are acting and use caution when you approach them, but also when working around them.
When working around animals that are confined to a smaller area, such as horses or cows, make sure you are aware of where the animal is in relation to your body. You should never turn your back on an animal or walk away from it without knowing exactly where it is. When you are moving animals from one area to another, always have a backup plan in case the animals do not cooperate. If they are agitated, simply opening a gate may not be enough to get them moving in the right direction.
- Wear Appropriate Clothing and Footwear When Working With Livestock
When working around livestock, you should wear closed-toed shoes. This will protect your toes in case the animal becomes spooked and kicks at you. It is also important to wear closed-toed shoes when you are moving or handling equipment, as this will protect your feet if something falls off the equipment or if you accidentally step on something sharp.
- Be Aware of Nearby Power Lines, Fences, and Gates While Driving a Tractor
This is a simple way to avoid an accident — always know your surroundings when you are operating machinery on your farm.
This means that if there are power lines overhead, you should not raise the equipment high in the air while it is running. If your tractor or other farm vehicle has a cab that can be locked, you should take advantage of it. You should also wear a seat belt when operating machinery to help protect yourself. Likewise, make sure that all of your gates and fences are properly latched before driving past. If you do not lookout for these things, you could end up getting your equipment caught, as well as cause damage to the fence.
- Make Sure You’re Using the Right Tool for the Job at Hand
You should always have the right tool for any given job. For example, if you are using a shovel to drive nails into beams, you could break your tool and possibly damage the nail. Worse, you could end up hurting yourself if you hit your hand with a shovel instead of driving in the nails.
When using any equipment, you should always read the manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Doing this will help prevent accidents that are caused by using the wrong equipment.
- Keep Gas Containers Away From Open Flames or Heated Surfaces
Gas is highly flammable. If you leave a gas can near an open flame or heat source, the gas could ignite and explode.
If you are refueling your equipment on the farm, you should always bring it into a well-ventilated area. If possible, do not refuel in an enclosed space. You should also take care to avoid static electricity, which can cause sparks that could ignite the gas in a container and lead to an explosion.
To avoid the risk of an explosion, never smoke near a gas container and always disconnect any equipment before refueling it. If the equipment is still hot, it could ignite the gas.
- Avoid Working When It’s Dark or Stormy Outside
It is generally best to avoid working at night if you can. Farm work can be unpredictable, and if you are operating machinery or using power tools, it can become even more dangerous. Working at night is dangerous because the darkness causes a number of problems. For example, you can’t see as well and your depth perception is off, making it more difficult to operate machinery or tools.
If the weather is poor, you should not attempt to work on your farm. Storms can bring down trees or power lines that could injure you or make it more difficult to get help if an accident does occur. If it is dark or storming outside, it may be best to wait for better working conditions, if possible.
- Stay Hydrated by Drinking Plenty of Water and Carrying a Bottle With you While Working
If you stay hydrated, your muscles will work more efficiently. If you are working for an extended period of time in the hot summer sun, dehydration can be a serious problem. You should carry a bottle of water with you and drink it throughout the day to prevent heat stroke or exhaustion, which can occur during the vigorous work that farming entails.
We hope you are now better prepared for safety on the farm by learning how best to avoid common farming disasters before they occur. By following these tips closely, we hope you will never have another accident to disrupt the very important work of farming. If you do find yourself injured from a farming accident, Contact English Lloyd & Armenta today, as we can guide you through your next steps to recovery.