AMES, Iowa -- Farming is a dangerous occupation, and in the midst of spring planting, taking safety seriously can prevent mistakes that could lead to injuries.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has a series of publications, titled “Safe Farm,” that contain valuable information on safe farming techniques and tips. Charles Schwab, a safety specialist, conducts research on safe farming techniques and revised and prepared the “Safe Farm” publications.
Schwab explained that because of the large time delay due to spring moisture, farmers are feeling rushed to get in the field to plant. Because of this time delay, many farmers will need to work long hours. “If we are working long hours, we need to take breaks so we can re-energize,” explained Schwab. “When we spend a lot of time working we become fatigued, and when we are fatigued we make poor decisions about our safety.” This is when injuries and mistakes happen.
If an injury does occur, remain calm, Schwab said. Anyone who is thrust into the role of first responder needs to remember that the primary objective is to get professional help for the injured, make sure both the responder and the injured person are not in further danger, and provide care until Emergency Medical Services arrive.
When working with youth during the farming season, it is important to match age and ability with the specific farm chore. Schwab explained that when assigning tasks to youth, be sure to understand the risks of each task, and how dangerous the agricultural industry can be. “You must take extra caution and care with assigning tasks,” said Schwab. Doing a specific chore that is beyond their mental, emotional or physical ability causes many injuries to youth.
To limit injuries and avoid risk, Schwab suggests following these steps:
Being aware of hazards and the risks in the agricultural industry is very important. Stressing safety at all times on the farm can prevent injuries and death. “The agriculture industry is the most dangerous industry in the U.S.,” explained Schwab. “Make sure you take the right steps to avoid disaster.”