Plan, Prevent and Prepare: Staying Safe on the Farm and Ranch

August 11, 2021

Plan, Prevent and Prepare: Staying Safe on the Farm and Ranch

Sunset on the farm
Plan, Prevent and Prepare: Staying Safe on the Farm and Ranch

As we stride through this steamy summer and into August, we’re reminded of the unique threats that ag producers face in their day-to-day work. Going over the dos and don’ts is never out of season.

A great place to start is with your own health. When farmers and ranchers are up-to-date on their yearly checkups, they can work with more confidence, knowing where they stand when it comes to prevention and management of chronic conditions. You can call Hegg Medical Clinic at 712-476-8100 to schedule your appointment today – don’t postpone and find yourself fully booked due to harvest, calving or planting.

Rollovers, Equipment and PTOs

Farmers use big machines to do their vital work, and with size and power comes risk. Make sure you follow the guidelines of each combine, tractor or trailer you put to use, and make a habit of checking key safety equipment like seatbelts.

The rapidly rotating PTO shaft is well-known as an important part of work on the farm. But it’s also a hazard that can lead to serious injury or death if overlooked or under appreciated. Avoid loose-fitting clothing and shut off engines or disengage a PTO before you leave the seat, and never touch or reach across one while it’s in motion.

Unprotected drivers, especially in older tractors, can face dangerous rollover hazards due to uneven ground or unseen debris. Rollover protection structure (ROPS) retrofit kits are a good investment – they save lives. And just like we teach our kids in the car – wear that seatbelt every time you get in.

Chemicals, Grain and Livestock

The modern farm is home to a wide range of pesticides and fertilizers and it’s easy to be so familiar with them that you overlook precautions. Don’t do it – remember to use protective gear every time, including goggles, gloves and respirators. Skipping it once could lead to serious injury or worse.

Use a harness and buddy system before ever entering a grain storage bin, and review the safety steps that go with your augers. Lock out machinery when not in use.

Moving cattle or hogs is another potential challenge. Never trust any large animal, even if you “know” its disposition. Unexpected things can rile us up as humans – and it can happen to hogs, cows and bulls, too.

Back to Basics for Better Health

Early mornings in the combine and late nights hauling grain can add a layer of fatigue to your life, making you less mindful of your own health and safety. Proper rest, hydration, nutrition and planning all can help farmers and other agricultural workers avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Managing stress is another spot where we can all do better. Stress can make us cut corners or push ourselves harder. A heart attack or serious accident isn’t worth the risk if you’re pushing yourself too far or working to the point of breakdown.

Here in Rock Valley, we are grateful to be your partner in health and well-being and wish everyone well during the upcoming harvest season.