A small portion of the American population is employed in the farming sector, but many deaths arise from the farming activities. A farm is a potentially dangerous workplace. Because the type of work done is physically demanding, it is not uncommon to find injuries in the agricultural workplaces. Whereas some farm accidents are small in nature, some can be complex and are a life-defining moment.
The most effective way of preventing and managing farm accidents is through taking safety training. The following article will guide you on why farmers need safety training:
Causes of Farm Accidents
There are various causes of farm accidents. To start with, farm machinery such as a tractor is not only heavy to operate but also heavy. In such a case, an over-turn is a possibility, and if it happens, then, the life of the farmer, the employees, or anyone nearby could be in danger. The U.S. Department of Labor states that at least 44 % of all farm accidents involve cases of tractor roll-over.
Animal related injuries may not be a very common source of farm accidents, but they are a point of concern all the same. For example, horses may appear calm, but once they go wild, they lead to serious cases of injuries. As a matter of fact, most of such accidents arise from animals which are generally considered as non-fatal.
Falls in the farms is a common occurrence. Farmers have to face the harsh reality of heights and the consequences of the same. It should be noted that the older are more vulnerable to a fall. Similarly, farmers with chronic conditions can fall. In addition to that, when one is taking medication, there is a probability of a farm accident, more so when one operates a machine when taking medication.
The following are the main events of falls in a farm:
-Falling off the ladder when working
-Falling when working with an animal
-Tripping when walking in an uneven surface
Exposure to chemicals remains a major threat to the farmers and employees. The main types of chemical exposure include pesticides and herbicides. Symptoms of exposure to chemicals include burning eyes, watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, nausea, dizziness, sweating, abdominal pain, and fever.
Exposure to chemicals in the farm can lead to poisoning, persistent pneumonia, liver damage, damage of other organs, irritation of the skin, and even death. It should be noted that the impact of chemical poisoning has the highest impact when it is swallowed. When a farmer takes safety training, he or she understands the most appropriate response to a case of chemical exposure.
There have been cases of suffocation in farms. This mostly occurs in cases where there are low levels of oxygen, in silos for instance. Some farms may have places which are enclosed, and such places may have low levels of oxygen. There have been cases of farmers getting suffocated in places that they least expected.
Why Farmers Need Safety Training
Did you know that dressing appropriately is, as a matter of fact, a safety precaution. Serious injuries have been caused by an untied shoe lace, stray threads, and long hair. Safety training can include what a farmer should wear. Many of the accidents arise from entanglement with a farm machine. One thinks the dressing is a minor thing, but it can lead to very harsh outcomes.
The following safety precautions in dressing can play a critical role in enhancing safety measures:
-Tie your boots all the times, and tie them in a firm way
-Ensures that the shoe soles are slip-resistant
-Shirts should be comfortable and fitting
-If you have long hair, tie it when you are working
-Protective equipment plays a critical role in preventing injuries
-Simply put, some garments are not suitable for the job
Having stated that, it is critical that the farmers dress in the right clothing when they are working in the farm. Similarly, the farmer should ensure that all the employees are given the right equipment. Some activities in the farm will require the right protection gear. For example, spraying the farm requires being careful with protecting yourself as one could be exposed to dangerous sprays.
Children will always be children; they are going to be playful and they are going to be spontaneous. As a responsible farmer, you need to protect your children, your neighbor’s children, and other children in the community. Rather than commanding the children, have a dialogue with the children on simple safety measures.
The following precaution measures can help you protect the children:
-Children should not play anywhere near a farm equipment
-The children should not eat or drink anything in the farm
-The children should report to an adult about any incidence in the farm
-Give the children safety education in a language that they can understand
The Law and Safety Training
In many cases, training in safety could be a matter of law. The National Ag Safety Database and OSHA training gives a number of laws and regulations that govern the safety of agricultural workers, and in deed, many other stakeholders in the agricultural sector. Efforts that help in the improvement of safety are generally categorized as engineering, legislative, and education.
It is an accepted observation that the process of farming can expose someone to harsh climatic conditions, a difficult terrain, and chemicals. It is therefore the responsibility of the farmer to be familiar with the law in order to protect him, the employees, and other third parties. If a farmer follows the right safety measures, he or she is going to save the farm from a lot of troubles.
Now that it may not be easy to understand law, one should think about seeking the opinion of a lawyer. Some lawyers have a niche in their offices which deal with farm safety. Having a reliable lawyer can help a farmer to make informed decisions pertaining health as well as safety management.
You should note that you can be slapped with a lawsuit if authorities find that there are safety measures that you have not followed. Such a lawsuit could be very detrimental to your reputation as well as your finances. It should be noted that some cases drag for long in the courts. The best thing, therefore, is to ensure that there is prevention of such incidences.
Preparing for an Emergency
The right safety training can help you prepare for an emergency. Farmers should make an effort to place first-aid kits around the farm, in areas where an adult can easily assess them. The farmer should ensure that at least one employee is well-trained on handling the first aid and using it in the best way possible. The emergency number should be easily accessible to anyone who might need it. In addition to that, the employees should be aware of how to use first-aid kits in order to attend to emergency cases.
Farmer Field Schools
A number of schools have the advantage of having farms in their schools. However, the risks and threats in running such farms can be high. This is because the main purpose of the farm is to teach young people. Young people can be excited, and may not follow the recommended safety standards. When it comes to the farmers’ field farms, the teachers have a lot of responsibility in protecting the students. Most importantly, the teachers should lead by example in order to help the students follow optimal safety standards and be in a position to mediate when conflict occurs.
Resources for Safety Training in Farming
As a farmer, you need to evaluate the various resources which can be of much help in safety training in the field of farming. There are ample resources for this, and you just need to choose the right one. When you are looking for a training program, be sure to check if the program fits the specific needs of your farm or it is a general safety course. The good thing is that some courses are available online and distance should not be a barrier.
The following are the main resources for safety training in farming:
–OSHAcademy Safety Training: Occupational Safety & Health Training is concerned about the various cases of risks in the agricultural sector in the US. OSHA cites the year 2011 as a year of concern because 570 agricultural workers died due to various accidents. The highest cases of deaths were due to a tractor over-turn. OSHAcademy offers a strict but self-paced training. Employees who sign up for this program can either use the website or they can download the pdf. The training is targeted at new employees, safety committee members, trainers, laborers, farmers, and the management.
–Saif Oregon: Though this organization is based in Oregon, it offers both the physical classes as well as the online classes. It covers a variety of topics including irrigation safety and farm safety. In addition to that, the organization provides safety training as far as animals are concerned. Short courses provided by the organization are either in English or Spanish.
In Case of an Accident
Even with the best prevention methods, accidents are bound to happen. A farming accident can be a scary experience, and therefore, you should be prepared for any eventuality. Now that many farms are in remote areas, the action to take after an accident is limited. The following steps can help you manage a farm accident:
-It is important that you seek immediate medical attention. In this, time is of essence. Either way, whether it is an emergency or not, it is important that you see a doctor. If you do not see a doctor, and claim insurance later, things could get complicated for you.
-If you are an employee, you need to inform the employer about an accident. This will help in ensuring that appropriate action is taken, for instance, not using a farm machine until it has been repaired.
-As a farmer, preserve the evidence of the accident. In such cases, you are likely to be blamed. But if you preserve evidence, you are going to use the evidence to state that you had laid down the preventive measures only for the accident to occur
-If you are an employee, and you are injured at the farm, you need to liaise with the farmer on the possibility of getting insurance. Many of the farmers are well-prepared for such eventualities and they do ensure that all the employees are covered.
-In the case of an accident, it is important to inform the family. This is because the family can disclose the family history of the patient, and at the same time, disclose other relevant information which may be of much help
Towards the Future
Farming technology is going to improve drastically in the future. However, this does not in any way mean that the accidents are going to reduce. Reduction of farm accidents is going to be the responsibility of the government, the private sector, and the farmers themselves. Taking personal care is a matter of paramount importance. Some types of technology can come with a higher risk. This is more so if the farmer and the employees are not well trained on handling cutting edge technology.
Not every state makes it mandatory to take insurance for the workers. States should insist and make it compulsory to buy worker’s compensation insurance. States such as California are already a step ahead in this type of legislation, and other states should follow suit. What is important is to have a minimum standard of safety and to ensure that farmers have a culture of safety for their own good and the good of others.
If you take one safety training, then it is time that you thought about refresher courses after some time. This is because safety training is dynamic, and new things are going to come up. All the same, as a farmer, continuous safety training plays an important role in protecting all the stakeholders in the farm.