Risk, Loss, and How You Can Do Better

We talked to Eric Nelson, Safety & Loss Control Consultant with Rural Mutual, to help you identify key spots on the farm that are at a big risk for loss and how you can avoid it. 


There are three factors that increase the risk of fire:

  • construction of the building: a wood frame building is obviously more susceptible to fire than a concrete block building
  • buildings occupancy: the greater the building’s fire load (the amount of combustible material per square foot of floor space), the greater the potential for fire that exists
  • external environment: a building attached to another has a greater fire potential then a stand-alone building.

To reduce the potential for fire, vegetation should be trimmed back from the building, and trash dumpsters or any other combustible materials should be stored at a safe distance from the building.


Poor housekeeping can increase the risk of loss, so get cleaned up!

The biggest hazard resulting from poor housekeeping is an unnecessary increase to a building’s fire load. The more cardboard, trash, or other combustible material that is unnecessarily stored inside the building, the more unsafe it is. This is also true about the exterior of the building. Trash outside the building should be picked up and placed in dumpsters. And remember that a building with a fire alarm system and smoke detectors will always be better off and safer than one without.

Poor housekeeping can also lead to an increase in slip/trip/fall hazards. Clean up spills in a timely manner and move items from walkways or along stairs. Make sure your exit routes and aisle ways are clear. To improve housekeeping, inspect the work floor on a regular basis to make sure the work area is free of debris, clutter, and falling hazards.


Poor electrical service increases risk across the board. Poor wiring can increase the risk of a fire or the possibility of electrocution. Poor electrical wiring could be present in: overloaded panels, blocked panels, exposed wiring, non-GFCI outlets in wet areas. You should regularly inspect all extension cords for cuts and frays, and make sure that the ground plug is still in place. Whenever possible, permanent wiring should be installed instead of using extension cords. Routinely check to make sure that all electrical panels are accessible by at least 36 inches.