Safety is a big part of the culture at Ridley. We have a safety tip before every meeting, there is a safety huddle at the start of every shift at the plants and employees write a personal safety plan. All this attention to safety goes a long way towards prevention and that is reflected in our safety record. I share this with you to lead in my main point of creating a culture of safety on the farm.
I have many scars from misadventures on the farm as a kid. When I think about all my injuries, the vast majority of them were preventable, including the most serious one. However, I never stopped to think about what I was doing, I was enjoying life. That is the wrong attitude to have when you consider that thousands of people are injured annually working on the farm. With National Ag Safety Month just around the corner, I offer 5 points to keep everyone safe on the farm.
1. Talk About It
I know that a lot of us assume everyone is aware of the hazards that various task present, but you know what happens when we assume. Remove all doubt and have a conversation about it. This is especially when youth are working on the farm. Take time to demonstrate how to safely complete the task or operate the machinery.
2. Slow Down
This is the hardest thing for me personally, as I’m of the ‘hurry up and get it done mindset’. However, there are times when a person really does need to slow down to get a task done in a safe manner. This is particularly true when working livestock. Tempers tend to flair as frustration grows, good judgement goes out the window and someone will get hurt. That is the time to take a break and a breath. Give yourself and the crew 5-10 minutes to grab a drink of water and talk about changing jobs if needed.
3. Dress Appropriately
My mom once told me doing chores is not a fashion show. She was right, but 13-year-old me didn’t think so. A big part of preventing injury is having the proper gear for the task at hand. How many farmers do you know with hearing loss? A great example of an injury that could have been prevented.
4. Be Aware
The simple act of being aware of your surroundings, regardless of the task, goes a long way. For example, while in the pasture beware of where the problem animals are. When operating machinery, take time to look for people and structures. Remind others to give a wide berth to machinery as site lines are limited.
5. Think About It
The last point is to have a conscious safety thought about the task at hand. Before starting, think about what could go wrong, communicate potential to those who will be working with you and make a plan for prevention. It could be as simple as having the hired hand tuck in their shirt tails before hooking up the PTO.
Safety is often an overlooked part of daily life on the farm. However, if we commit to taking an extra 5 minutes before a task, many accidents and injuries could be avoided. At Ridley, we are committed to the safety of our employees regardless of where they work and we want our customers to stay safe. Click on the links below for more information about on farm safety.
For Kids: http://www.farmsafetyforjustkids.org/
For the family: http://farmsafety.mo.gov/