Many people especially us city folks drive on long drives out into the country and see all the livestock and scenery and just think it is a beautiful, peaceful, serene environment. Many people do not tend to think of farming as one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Farming is a very time consuming and laborious job that has many physical demands and many unknown hazards.
Some of the risks involved in farming include: chemicals and pesticides used in crops, dangerous tools and machines, various areas of a farm – not limited to but including silos, grain bins, etc. Also, the animals themselves on a farm can present a danger from being angry and causing injury to carrying various illnesses and diseases.
Let’s touch on a few of these with safety measures to keep everyone down on the farm healthy, happy and working.
Chemicals and Pesticides
Everyone hates the thought of chemicals and pesticides being on their food and ingesting them, but needless to say they are an important part of a farmer preserving their crops. There are definitely some non-chemical methods that can present less harm which can be used. Always be aware of your surroundings when using chemicals, make sure animals and children are not near. Chemicals should never be sprayed on a windy day. They should always be kept locked away when not in use. Lastly and I am sure that this is one people do not often think about, but be aware where the chemicals will drain to during a rain storm so they do not affect drinking water or public use environments.
Many of the machines that are used on farms are extremely powerful machines. Many accidents occur because machines are not properly inspected on a regular and little things like guards and such are left off. Equipment and tolls should be inspected for worn out parts, and if worn parts are discovered they should be replaced immediately. Many times I have reported articles about guards, shields, or other safety devices being taken off because they require an extra step to make the machine work – they are there for a reason, to prevent you from injury. Make sure they are all in place and being used properly. Lastly, one that is probably not touched on enough but weather conditions should be observed and taken into account to prevent injuries.
Grain Bins and Silos
OSHA reports that roughly 26 farmers are killed in grain bins or silos a year. Because bins and silos are so deep and dense they present a risk if someone falls in and becomes entrapped – they can eventually suffocate. Grain can act like quicksand and suck a person in killing them. Also a little known fact that I was not always aware of is – grain dust is flammable and combustible so they risk of fire or explosion is always present. Workers clearly need to climb ladders to get up these structures which also present a risk for falling from a height that can cause injury or death.
We have all seen a YouTube video of someone getting kicked by a horse or bitten by a farm animal and thinks its funny, but the fact of the matter is that farmers have to deal with this type of thing on a regular basis. After all these are wild animals that can become unpredictable and kick, bite, or trample humans. Animals should always be handled and treated with care. They should be well taken care of and respected. Because they are wild they are subject to various sickness and disease and should be tested for such to prevent outbreaks or contamination of other livestock.
Farming is the good old American way to make a living. It is well respected and is an art. Although it can be very dangerous there are many things that can be done to prevent injury and keep workers comp claims down and lost time at bay.