Farm and Ranch Safety Tips
For many, farm life is better than any other life! It’s highly gratifying to be near nature and the healthy outdoors. As many have heard before, farm and ranch life is not for the faint of heart as it can be labor-intensive. Still, most farmers consider their work rewarding and can’t see themselves doing anything else.
However, what most people don’t know is that agriculture ranks amongst the most hazardous industries in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 417 farmers or livestock workers died from work-related injuries in 2016. The leading cause of death was vehicle incidents, including tractor overturns.
As the farming and cattle industries are at the very heart of Texas, please keep these farm and ranch safety tips in mind if you work in the agriculture industry or are visiting the countryside.
The Texas Department of Transportation reported that 54.99% of all crash fatalities in 2018 happened on rural roads.
The sad reality is, country roads receive less federal funding and are therefore more likely to have potholes and outdated designs.
Additionally, there are wild animals that can cross your path. Not to mention that because there is less traffic, drivers tend to drive faster on these roads.
To help avoid accidents while on the road or operating a tractor, we suggest you follow these safety tips:
1. Safety Tips for Driven Farm Equipment on Public Roads
- Make sure all your lights are working properly
- Ensure your equipment has reflective tape. Don’t forget to place slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblems where they are visible to other drivers.
- Dust your tractor before you take it out on the road to make sure the reflecting tape and SMV emblems are visible
2. Tractor Safety
- Don’t start tractors when inside a closed garage or shed to avoid potential CO2 poisoning to you or the animals. Always start your tractor in a well-ventilated area
- Allow the tractor engine to cool off before refueling it
- If your tractor only has one seat, it means only one operator can ride it at a time. Therefore, you should never have extra riders, not even kids
- To help prevent rollaway accidents, always use wheel blocks when unfastening wagons or carts from a tractor
3. Power Take-Off Safety
- When you are working with a power take-off (PTO), always disengage the PTO, turn off the engine and take out the keys before you get off the tractor to avoid injuries.
- Never allow anyone to step across a rotating power shaft
4. Protect Yourself from Rollovers
- The best way to protect yourself if a rollover should happen is to add a Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS)
- Use the seat belt
Grain Handling Safety Tips
- Never enter a grain bin alone, always have a second person monitoring you while you work in the grain bin
- Use a lifeline system that includes a harness and an anchored lifeline to avoid getting trapped in the grain bin
- Beware of silo gas! Always ventilate the silo headspace for at least 30 minutes before entering to remove concentrations of harmful — or lethal — gases such as methane gas, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
Chemical and Pesticide Safety Tips
Chemicals and pesticides are a stable of farms, but not knowing how to handle them can cause severe injury and even death.
- Take regular training courses on the proper use, storing, and handling of chemicals and pesticides
- Use chemical respirators, appropriate gloves, and protective clothing when handling pesticides
- Keep chemicals and pesticides under lock and key
Additional Farm and Ranch Safety Tips
- If you are working with farm equipment, try not to wear loose-fitting clothing around any moving parts
- When running machinery, always wear hearing and eye protection
- Use masks to help filter out dust and mold
- Wear sunscreen when working out in the sun
- Stay hydrated
- Seal abandoned wells and tanks
- Make sure you keep up with any changes to federal and state laws concerning your agricultural activity
Working on a ranch or farm provides a blissfulness few other jobs offer; however, it is essential always to stay alert for potential dangers to avoid accidents.
And if an accident should happen, remember Altus Emergency Centers are near to help nurse you back to health. In cases of life-threatening injuries, we can arrange for air transportation to the nearest hospital.