Any equipment on the farm, large or small, may present hazards to workers or bystanders. The mobility of some machines adds another dimension to the hazards presented to the operator or bystander. Large and small farm equipment pose different hazards based on their size, but also share some hazards in common. The purpose of this section is to describe hazards more specific to what is considered “large farm equipment” and offer some tips a farmer/operator might employ to prevent accidents while using this type of equipment.
Farm and Home Safety Tips for Arkansans
Farming is considered one of the most hazardous and dangerous occupations in the U.S. Farm owners and agricultural workers use a diverse selection of equipment and tools — combines, trailers, sprayers, pumps, just to name a few — that can be dangerous to life and limb if not operated in a safe manner. Farmers are exposed to dangerous situations and they are at very high risk of nonfatal and fatal injuries.
Each year, more agriculture-related deaths occur than in any other industry.
Among the potentially life threatening farm hazards are farm machinery and equipment, agricultural chemicals, grain bins, livestock handling, sun and heat, toxic gases, silos, wells, and tractors. Unfortunately, the annual death rate for farm workers involving on-farm accidents is more than 20 per 100,000 workers in the United States, twice the number of deaths in the next highest risk industries — mining.
The agricultural death rates in almost every survey published are higher from April through September, the peak growing and harvesting season. Farm-related injuries declined from 87,503 in 2001 to 58,385 in 2014. In part this is because safety features have been added to farm equipment.
Unintentional injuries account for over 100,000 in-home deaths each year.
Often, these tragedies happen when least expected – during a vacation, while doing routine works at home or while driving across town – and they are all preventable.
It is important that farm workers and home owners be aware of potential hazards in day-to-day events to reduce the possibility of injury or death. Because your safety is the primary goal of the safety program at the University of Arkansas - Division of Agriculture, we are dedicated to provide safety rules you can follow to prevent possible injury or death. Details for safe operation vary widely amongst different equipment and you should always read the manual and follow proper procedures.
Small equipment, i.e., lawn mowers, are essential equipment found in many homes with a yard in the United States. They enable homeowners and grounds keepers to comply with municipality codes and maintain neat and good-looking yards. Many children and teenagers like to earn extra money by mowing lawns during the grass-growing season. Each year more than 600 children undergo amputations as the result of lawn mower-related injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), small equipment can be extremely dangerous if not operated safely and properly.
Employee safety is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Only farms with 11 or more employees are required to meet all OSHA labor regulations. All growers and employee, however, are required to comply with farm shop safety rules.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is designed to prevent or minimize the severity of injuries to workers performing farm work. PPE must be inspected prior to use on each work shift to ensure it is in serviceable condition. This section will provide some tips related to the importance of farm shop safety.
Flowing grain remains the number one cause of fatalities for grain handlers. Large or unstable quantities of grain can flow like liquids. It is difficult or impossible for a grain handler to move if caught in grain flow. A grain handler can be buried in a few seconds if caught in grain flow, resulting in suffocation. This section explores some grain handling hazards and presents tips for accident prevention.
Farmers and ranchers perform most farming activities outdoors. They need to be careful about their exposure to the ultraviolet rays (UV) of the sun. There are two types of ultraviolet rays: Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB). Repeated exposure to the UV rays of the sun will most likely to damage a person’s skin and increase the risk for developing skin cancer. It is the most common type of cancer in the United States which causes damaging changes to a person’s skin.
No one is completely protected from the sun’s UV rays; however, some skin types are more susceptible than others. People with blonde or red hair, fair skin, or freckles tend to get sunburned more quickly than others and should be even more vigilant about protecting themselves from the sun. This section deals with some tips that could help protect our producers while performing outdoor farming.
Several farmers work around livestock on a daily basis. It should be known that animals sense their surroundings very differently. Due to their sensitive hearing, livestock are able to detect sounds that humans cannot hear. Loud noises easily frighten them. Research shows high frequency sounds actually hurt animals’ ears. This may explain why some animals are nervous in unfamiliar surroundings. Many animals see in black and white, not color. Some animals’ eyes sense movement better than human eyes. Cattle have almost 360° panoramic vision and can be spooked by quick movements behind them. On the other hand, cows and pigs have poor depth insight and difficulty in judging distances. Accordingly, cows are seemingly unable to differentiate the difference between a real cattle guard and parallel stripes painted on a road. This section emphasizes some tips related to livestock handling safety.