Farm safety isn’t just for one week a year

by | Sep 13, 2023 | 5 Ag Stories, News

Next week is Farm Safety Week, and you will likely be hearing messages from all across the ag industry reminding you to be safe. I decided to get a jump on all of them and send you my message this week.

While it is great to spend one week a year driving home the important message of farm safety, we all need to realize that there are 51 more weeks in a year, and we need to always be paying attention. My dad used to always say, “Accidents happen, that’s why they’re called ‘accidents’.” I am sure he wasn’t the only farm dad who said those things. There is a grain of truth to that. There will be accidents that we cannot prevent in this industry. That is why agriculture is still listed as the most dangerous industry in the world. Those things that are beyond our control include mechanical failures, unforeseen conditions, or the fault of others.

It’s the fault of others that should be the most concerning. Assigning fault or determining you weren’t at fault won’t necessarily make things better. It comes down to the part we all need to think about and that is what we can control; those are our own actions.  How many times have you said that you could do something 100 times and the routine would produce the same result, but that 101st time, something else happens? There is no cure for complacency, but there are preventative steps you can take: Common sense and vigilance.

As farmers are getting ready, I hear about them crawling under corn heads to check them over and do any last-minute repairs or adjustments. Are you making sure that the corn head is locked and supported in a way that prevents it from falling on you, or are you just trusting that hydraulic lever to hold it in place?

Many of you are setting up augers to move grain from trucks and trailers to grain bins. Are the PTO shields in place so someone doesn’t get injured?

Have you gone through the proper steps in safely entering a grain bin? Are you making sure that power is disconnected to the grain moving equipment before you move in? Do you have your safety harnesses nearby in case you were to get stuck?

Have you briefed your workers on safety procedures? Have you made sure there are adequate first-aid tools around in case an accident occurs? Have you checked to make sure there are fire extinguishers in the cabs of your trucks, tractors, and combines? Are those fire extinguishers going to work properly if you need them, or is it time for them to be recharged or replaced?

Are you getting enough rest? Fatigue is one of the biggest contributors to farm accidents. Another contributor is being at too fast of a pace. Everybody wants to get done, but we can’t push ourselves and run the risk of safety being put in jeopardy. As much as we want to race Mother Nature, we should already know that she plays by her own rules and cares not for your plans. Don’t try to push too hard if conditions or your awareness are not at their best.

I have said many times that there are people at home who love you. Having you home at night is worth more than an extra thousand bushels in the dryer. It will be there tomorrow, but please make sure you are as well.