Use this simple, effective tool to address potential hazards
Isn’t it satisfying to check items off a to-do list? Especially when the items are safety-related?
Farm Safety Check is a quick monthly review to identify and fix potential hazards before they cause harm to your family and employees – and your bottom line. Each month, Farm Safety Check focuses on a different topic, offering checklists and tips to help identify hazards, along with suggested resources to remedy any problems.
“Each farm is unique,” said Bruce Alexander, Director of the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH), which launched Farm Safety Check in 2017. “It takes an individual approach to address common hazards. The best way to do that is having a routine way to review the farm environment for potential hazards.”
The UMASH Farm Safety Check is a printable checklist. New topics are added monthly. The checklist keeps farms on track all year without bombarding them with too much new information and additional work.
“Health and safety on the farm is an attainable goal with some conscious effort in prevention and control measures,” Alexander said.
Wintertime checklist topics
Now would be a good time to walk through your buildings and shop with checklists in hand, said Scott Heiberger, communications manager at the National Farm Medicine Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute.
“There are checklists for fire preparedness, electrical safety and general farm building safety,” Heiberger said. “It could actually be a 3-for-1 walkthrough, since these three topics are so interrelated.”
Things to look for include:
- Are buildings free of trash, junk or tools in the walkways and work areas?
- Is wiring free of damage and unexposed?
- Are heat lamps securely placed, clean and in good repair?
- Are flammable liquids stored away from sources of heat in ventilated areas?
- Are electrical wires firmly supported or in a conduit?
- Do all workers know how to shut off power in case of an emergency?
Be a Farm Safety Champion!
The checklists also provide an excellent way of beginning the safety conversation with your family and employees, and for reinforcing safety behaviors year ‘round.
You can also be a Farm Safety Champion in your community and organization. The recommended resources are free and easily shared via email and social media. Share the resources in newsletters and media articles that reach agricultural audiences.
“There’s peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a safe operation, or as safe as you can make it, and that you have made a farm safety impact in your community,” Heiberger said.
By the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center
Other UMASH Farm Safety Check topics include: animal handling, ATVs, keeping children safe, grain handling, hearing protection, emergency preparedness, silage storage, roadways, and more.
To find out more about farm safety checklists contact your local Rural Mutual Insurance Agent.