ag safety

Farm Safety – Always Worth Thinking About

Farm safety is something that continues to be at the forefront of my mind now with Harper in the mix.

Recently, in a neighboring town, a little girl wandered off into her family’s cornfield. Luckily, she was found after about 8 hours. I can’t even begin to imagine the worry, heartache and then relief that family felt throughout the ordeal.

I can remember my parents always telling me find a row and keep walking until you reach the end or a road if I ever got lost in one of our fields. I honestly, can’t say I really remember ever playing in any of our fields, yet the thought of how quickly an incident like this could happen to any farm momma weighs on my heart.

Farm kids grow up faster. They have responsibilities that most won’t have until they are 10 or 12 or maybe even 16 by the age of 5 or 6 a lot of times. I think of how Harper isn’t even 3 and she knows how to feed her chickens, pig, and give treats to her “neigh-neighs.” She collects eggs from the chickens, can haul the bucket back to the garage and place them in the carton to go in the fridge. She knows how to water the plants, has her own wheelbarrow and work gloves, and helps in the garden.

Harper having a nice chat with her pig.

Sometimes it never ceases to amaze me what she already know and all she does. We are a working farm and safety issues do happen. Simple things that I would have never thought twice about before I am over-cautious of now. Things such as making sure the bucket is all the way down on the tractor before letting her anywhere near it if we are hauling rock.

One thing I personally won’t let her do is let her ride on a lawn mower. At least not until she is old enough to actually drive it herself, and I can pass on the task of mowing the lawn to her. It irks me to no end when I see people on Facebook posting photos of tiny babies and toddlers riding on lawn mowers with their parents or grandparents. It takes one bump or quick stop for that kiddo to be under the blade. It just isn’t something I want to risk or encourage even if the blade isn’t engaged or it is just flat ground. A shift in family culture can be difficult, but can be necessary for the sake of safety.

Sometimes it is very hard when I am working out in the yard and she decides to wander to the other side of the house. I frequently have to stop what I am doing, go get her and bring her back or stop all together because she refuses to come back. Having a watchful eye on my kiddo gives me a heart attack and is frustrating all at the same time. I know I struggle with not being able to go out and help Mark with everything because I have to ensure Harper’s safety first and foremost.

As harvest in Minnesota really gets into full swing, after about a three-week delay due to rain, I know many farmers, including us, will have late nights, be moving equipment, and generally working longer hours in an effort to make up for lost time. Sometimes I fear a simple mistake may be made. Someone is in a rush or is over tired, and misses a simple safety step. It happens.

We don’t have OSHA standards in farming or a big sign up that says 159 days since the last incident in a shop. Most farms probably don’t have a protocol in place in case an emergency was to happen. It is one of the reasons I still maintain my emergency medical responder license – to be prepared in case an incident happens.

Safety isn’t something to take lightly.

-Sara

Farm Safety. All Day. Every Day. Even in Broad Daylight.

We often hear messages about road safety during planting and harvest season. But what about during the summer months when farmers are cutting and hauling hay? Or when sprayers are on the roads going field to field?

Ag safety is a huge thing for me. Many know, I lost my dad to a work related accident so prevention, and not what to do after an incident, is a big deal to me. I don’t want another family to go through what mine did. I want my husband and myself around for Harper, and I don’t want an incident to occur with Harper either. It is easy to point the finger at someone else when something happens on their farm, until it happens to you. Then it becomes a problem. Operating under the notion of “everyone does it” or “it won’t happen here” doesn’t  cut it.

Lately, I’ve noticed some area farmers becoming lax on one of the easiest farm incident prevention measures out there…your hazard lights.

Four-ways. Flashers. Hazards. Warning Lights. Call them what you do in whatever area of the county you live in.

But for Pete’s sake, TURN THEM ON. Even in broad daylight. Do not leave a yard, a field driveway, or a pasture without them on. I don’t care if it is 2pm in the afternoon or 6 at night. Turn them on.

It boggles my mind that I even have to type that. That there are farmers who aren’t turning them on. A simple flip of a switch, and you can prevent a car accident that could kill a neighbor or yourself.

The hubs and I recently made a 4 hour drive to pick up equipment. You can bet that the strobe light on top of the rollback was going the entire 4 hour drive home because we knew we would be moving slower, and that the equipment took up additional road space.

As farmers, we can blame people all the time for passing us on the roadways, giving us the finger, etc. and yes, sometimes it is the inability for a driver to be patient that an incident occurs, but if we can prevent it or make sure we are doing everything in our power with something as simple as a flip of a switch, then we should be doing it.

All the time. Every day. No excuses.

I’ll keep this post short. Getting home safe starts with us making the right choices. Turn your hazards on.

Simple safety tip - make sure your slow moving signs are cleaned off and visible before moving from field to field.

Simple safety tip – make sure your slow-moving signs are cleaned off and visible before moving from field to field.

-Sara