From oldest to youngest, everyone is needed to keep family-owned farm operations running smoothly and safely. That’s why the focus of the 2012 National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 16-22, is “Agricultural Safety and Health Week ... A Family Affair.”
Practice grain safety
Children and adults alike forget the weight and force of grain, whether it’s in a wagon or a storage bin. A 12-inch layer of grain can weigh as much as 300 pounds, enough to entrap a grown person or suffocate a child. Farm Safety 4 Just Kids recommends families follow these safety tips when handling grain:
• Always lock all access doors to grain storage structures and lock out power to all types of grain-handling equipment when not in use.
• Never permit children to ride in grain wagons or enter grain storage areas. Adults should wear a body harness with a lifeline or use a boatswain’s chair.
• Always know where all family members are (especially children) at all times when grain is being loaded, unloaded, moved or otherwise handled.
Be alert around livestock
Chores for young children often involve working with or caring for livestock. Because animals can be skittish and unpredictable, Farm Safety 4 Just Kids encourages children to be calm, move slowly and avoid making loud noises around animals. Parents should remind children to stay away from aggressive livestock, such as stallions, bulls, rams, boars and animals with newborns. Parents can also model wearing protective gear (i.e. steel toed shoes) around livestock and helmets when riding horses.
Teach teens to use equipment
As children and teenagers grow, they become more active in farm life and helping with chores. The National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program recommends age-appropriate farm tasks for teenagers. Younger teens may be ready to perform duties with light equipment, such as lawn mowers, garden tractors or pressure washers. Maintaining and operating heavier equipment, such as tractors, augers or elevators are tasks that should be reserved for older teens with supervision. Lastly, make sure all machinery operators know how to use the equipment. Remember, one driver, no riders on farm machinery. Work smart and be safe!
Source: Central Illinois Mutual Insurance Company and Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.