PEOSTA, Iowa — Slips, trips and falls are a leading cause of injury across industries, and agriculture is no exception.
As winter approaches and the chance for ice increases, take time now to prepare for on-farm safety.
“Farmers and ranchers risk injury from slips, trips and falls every day due to the varied types of work and surfaces involved in their day,” according to AgriSafe Network.
“They work with hand tools, ladders, large equipment, concrete and wooden steps, rough and uneven walking surfaces that can also be wet, icy, oily and slippery and have multiple trips from outside light into darkened facility areas.”
Tripping hazards, including cords and debris on shop floors, pose a risk. Falls from both low and high levels are also a danger.
1. Use handrails when they are available.
2. Follow the three points of contact rule. Use two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, when mounting and dismounting ladders of all kinds. This includes free standing, those attached to bins and tractor and combine ladders. Always face the ladder.
3. When handling animals, be aware of the flight zones and use correct technique with lead ropes and lunge lines.
4. Wear gloves that are the right size and appropriate for the job.
5. Check footwear on a regular basis to make sure the grips and water channels have not worn down. With the exception of chemical use or heavy wet environments, leather work boots with sturdy, flat soles with intact boot laces are a necessary part of farm work. An exception includes when working with horses where a heeled boot is needed or work in very wet areas such as milking parlors, power washing and pesticide applications where a rubber or nitrile boot is the safe option.
6. When moving from an outdoor light or well-lit room to a darker area, remember to remove sunglasses or pause a few second before entering in case there is a step up or down.
7. Avoid carrying loads that are so high or too bulky that they block your line of vision.
8. Keep walkways picked and swept up.
9. Avoid distracting conversations such as cell phone use when engaged in work areas that can be hazardous.