This country counts on farmers for all different types of foods and some other items like cotton to make goods. Many people don’t realize how dangerous farming is, but this is an industry that is filled with hazards of all sorts.
For farmers and farm hands, the need to stay safe is critical. Knowing some of the different hazards and ways to minimize these risks can help to ensure these individuals are doing everything they can to remain safe.
Farm equipment is a huge and very dangerous hazard for anyone who is in the farming industry. Tractors, combines and other machinery serve important purposes but the moving parts, large size and weight of these machines can make them deadly. Anyone who is using farming equipment must ensure that it is in good working condition. They should also be vigilant about watching for other farm hands and people who might be visiting the fields to reduce the risk of running someone over with the equipment.
The weather is a factor that farmers can’t control, but they can take steps to improve safety in all weather conditions. During the summer, this means taking steps to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Providing clean water and having a shaded or cool area to rest in during breaks is crucial. Some farm equipment has air conditioning for the cab, which can help with the heat. Lightning is another hazard that should be handled carefully. Farms should have a clear plan for what will happen if the weather turns bad while workers are in the field.
Chemicals and pesticides
Working around chemicals and pesticides requires special care. This hazard can impact workers, but might also impact their family members if they have the dangerous substances on their clothing or their person when they come home. Specific protections are needed for people who work around pesticides and chemicals. These can include using rebreathers, masks, eye protection, gloves and protective suits. All of these should be provided to the workers who have to handle these chemicals.
Silos and bins
Silos and bins are dangerous for farm workers because of the risk of falling in. Workers who fall into a grain silo are at risk of suffocation because they can sink into the grain and not have the ability to breathe. Safety procedures must be established based on the type of silo, bin and components that are being stored in them.
The natural conditions of the field, which can include exposure to animals and wildlife, lack of running water for sinks and toilets, and the presence of germs, can cause problems for workers. Bringing potable water to the field and having some form of temporary hand washing station can minimize these risks. Portable toilets in the field, which are actually required by law if there are 11 or more workers, can also help to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and other problems that come with reduced access to bathroom facilities.
When a farm worker is injured, workers’ compensation coverage might be helpful to get medical bills paid. In some cases, the worker might be able to receive wage replacement benefits.