Working on a farm is, without a doubt, a challenging and laborious job. It involves both physical and mental strength, consumes long hours and requires plenty of patience and perseverance. One of the riskiest places to be on a farm is in the shop. The shop is generally where farm equipment repair and maintenance take place. When not conducted properly, several of these operations can lead to damage or serious injury. Safety should be the top priority of anyone who steps foot into the farm shop. Safety guidelines and regulations should be clearly outlined and enforced to ensure the security of all farm workers.
important farm shop safety tips to follow
1. Ensure quality lighting and air flow
Proper lighting helps people navigate easily throughout the shop, whereas dim light can be hazardous. Make sure the farm shop is well-lit and well-ventilated at all times, especially when welding, sawing or handling toxic fluids. An item that is out of sight in the dark can be easily tripped over or knocked down. It’s also important to have full control over the interior temperature of the shop building, as excess heat or cold can cause physical discomfort and lack of focus, leading to potential injury.
2. Make safety resources user-friendly
An up–to–date first-aid kit should be stored in a highly visible and easily accessible area. A list of important emergency phone numbers, including the fire department, ambulance, local police and poison control, as well as key staff members’ personal contact information, should be mounted at eye level on a wall.
3. Keep hazardous materials and chemicals out of reach
No matter someone’s level of farming expertise, all flammable and combustible materials should be kept out of reach, properly labeled and only handled when absolutely necessary. Store all toxic chemicals away from open heat sources, hang several active fire extinguishers around the shop and make sure all containers are properly secured and stowed away when not in use.
4. Wear protective clothing and equipment
When working in the farm shop, it’s important to wear fitted, uncontaminated, comfortable clothing, minimal or no accessories and keep hair short or secured and out of your face. Avoid anything loose or hanging that could potentially get caught in equipment. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is also crucial for the farm shop. Standard PPE includes thick, proper fitting work gloves that are free of holes, safety glasses and hard hats with no dents or cracks, appropriate ear protection, functioning respirators, welding shields and steel-toed boots tightly laced.
5. Practice good hygiene and housekeeping
Just like you would treat your own home, always keep the work area in the farm shop as clean and sanitary as possible. Not only does cleanliness improve the overall quality and safety of the shop, but it also allows for better productivity and efficiency. For example, keeping the floors tidy – especially where you’re currently working – is important so you do not trip or fall. Make sure the floors are free from debris, waste, cords, equipment and tools. Implement a regular cleaning schedule, and wipe or mop up any spills immediately to prevent slips, accidents or surface damage. When handling any type of oil or solvent, wear protective gloves and wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and frequently to prevent irritation or the spread of bacteria.
Farm safety is a priority for Rural Mutual. Contact a Rural Mutual agent to discuss the best agriculture and farm insurance that fits your needs.
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