One of the professors I work with at the University of Iowa is looking for people to test a training program for people who train and supervise agricultural workers under the age of 21. Participants who complete the training a survey will earn $50, and if you complete a second survey 3 months later, you can earn another $50. The training and survey can be done online and take about an hour to complete. Over half of occupational fatalities involving people under the age of 21 are in ag. I haven’t seen exactly what is in the training program, but my guess is that it covers a lot of the material that our university ag safety courses cover on the safety risks to younger workers and strategies that can be used to help prevent younger workers from getting hurt on the farm. Here is the link to the study website if you would like to participate!
With planting and mowing season coming up, I thought I’d remind everyone that the National ROPS Rebate Program can help you purchase a rollover protection structure for your tractor at up to 70% off. Even though the number of tractor rollover deaths have decreased since the 1980’s, over 100 farmers are killed in tractor rollovers each year, and hundreds more are injured. According to the National Agricultural Safety Database, using a rollover protection structure with a seat belt is 99.9% effective in preventing death or serious injury during a rollover.
Nowadays most tractor rollovers happen while doing odd jobs like mowing, pulling stumps, yard and ditch work, etc. This is because older, smaller tractors that don’t have rollover protection tend to be used for these tasks. Farmers over the age of 65 and children tend to be at higher risk of experiencing a rollover. This may be in part because older and younger people tend to do the odd jobs that are more prone to rollover, or possibly because they might not have the same ability to respond to the situation as a younger adult driver.
In any case, using a rollover protection structure and seat belt every time you use a tractor is one of the biggest things you can do to prevent you or someone else from dying as a result of farm work. The National ROPS Rebate Program provides a variety of options to help you get rollover protection for all of your tractors. Conversion kits are available even for antique tractors and there are also versions that can fold down if being able to get in a barn with a low ceiling is what is preventing you from getting the last of your tractors updated. Click on the link below to see what options are available in your state!
I was researching horse safety and came across this website that offers free online horse safety courses for kids and teens. The courses cover a wide range of topics including machine safety, understanding horse behavior, safe riding techniques, and horse care guides. From what I’ve learned from our neighbors who have horses, keeping the horse happy and healthy is especially important if you want to keep people safe! The courses are designed mostly for teens and preteens who are either taking riding lessons or are considering getting a job at a boarding facility, but they could also be beneficial for anyone who is planning on being around horses and doesn’t have much experience with them.
The Canadian group AgSafe has released an updated set of tools for creating a safety and health program on your farm. The new tool set is divided into strategies for small and large farms. The documents provided are a short summary of everything that was covered in the first two semesters of agricultural safety and health classes that I took when I had just started my PhD program, so if it seems like a lot of information to take in at once, it is! This program seems to cover a broader range of topics and has more detailed advice than some of the other DIY farm safety program systems.
I’ve been doing some research on Canadian agricultural safety and health lately since their injury and fatality rates are much lower than the US despite having similar crop and farmer demographics. What I’ve found out is that in the 1990’s there was a massive movement to better understand and prevent farming injuries that is still continuing today. AgSafe is one of several outreach programs created after results from the first round of big research studies came in, and the effort put into it’s development really shows.
Their audit program is only available in Canada, however they have included the document they use to conduct audits with the other materials so that you can get an idea of how your operation would perform in one of their audits.
The Marshfield Clinic has just released locations and dates for their Child Agricultural Injury Prevention Program. There will be three in-person workshops in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Iowa. The Pennsylvania event takes place in March while the other two will be over the summer. The program is aimed at farmers and local agricultural health groups and covers injury prevention strategies for working and non-working farm children. Each event is limited to about 60 participants, so if you’re interested be sure to sign up soon!
Here is a link to a series of videos put out by the National Farmer’s Union. The videos cover many of the big topics in farm safety: rollover protection, ATV safety, livestock handling, chemicals, and several others. It’s a pretty solid introduction to some of the big issues and the videos are well-made.
I went to the Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health conference last week and one of the big topics for discussion was farm safety audits. The Iowa State Extension Office has one of the most expansive audit programs, (click here for some information on their audit program) and is trying to work with the local insurance companies to get farmers a discount for participating. If you don’t live in a state that has an audit program, or if you want to take a look on your own and see how your farm would do, the checklists auditors use are available online. Here are a few of them: