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Staying Safe in an Agriculture Workplace


Staying Safe in an Agriculture Workplace David W. Smith Farm Safety Programs Texas Cooperative Extension Texas A&M University System What makes agriculture work ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Staying Safe in an Agriculture Workplace

Staying Safe in an Agriculture Workplace
  • David W. Smith
  • Farm Safety Programs
  • Texas Cooperative Extension
  • Texas AM University System

What makes agriculture work dangerous?
  • Environment
  • Personal factors
  • Work activities
  • Social, economic and political factors

Environmental Factors
  • Weather
  • Work sites overlap with residence, office
  • Delayed response of emergency service
  • Isolation from others
  • Difficult to maintain good personal hygiene
  • Hazards and exposures not monitored (noise,
    vibration, lighting, dusts, etc.)

Personal Factors
  • Young children frequently exposed to hazards
    beyond their understanding
  • Senior workers continue working despite physical
  • Work sometimes pushes physical limitations
  • Routine medical surveillance uncommon

Work Activity Factors
  • Long work hours
  • Erratic work pace
  • Irregular work routine
  • Trade learned by observation and experience
  • Work activities dependent on uncertainty of

Social, Political, and Economic Factors
  • Day care often not an option
  • Absence of health and safety regulations
  • Long-held cultural belief that little can be done
    to improve safety
  • Safety attitude stems from culture and outcome of
    experience performing dangerous activities

Who is at risk of injury?
  • Co-workers
  • Visitors
  • Family members
  • Subcontractors
  • Farm animals and wildlife

What are the dangers?
  • Tractors
  • Machinery and implements
  • Livestock
  • Electricity
  • Chemicals
  • Fires
  • Ponds and open water bodies
  • Sun exposure
  • Material storage facilities
  • Manure pits
  • ATVs

Tractor Hazards
  • Overturns
  • Runover incidents
  • Highway accidents
  • Falls
  • Contact with other objects

Tractor Overturns
  • Accounts for over half of all tractor fatalities
  • Occurs when the tractors center of gravity falls
    outside of its base of stability
  • Includes both side and rear rollovers

Physics of Tractor Stability
Side Overturn
Rear Overturn
Preventing Tractor Overturn Injury
  • Drive at appropriate speeds
  • Lock brake pedals together when on highway
  • Set wheel tread as wide as possible
  • Stay away from steep slopes
  • Dont drive on soft shoulders
  • Keep front-end loader loads low to the ground
  • Drive forward down hills and back up hills
  • Equip tractor with rollover protection and wear

Tractor Runovers
  • Major Causes of Runover Accidents
  • Bypassing the ignition switch to start tractor
  • Failure to set parking brake on slope
  • Falling or jumping off of tractor
  • Failure to acknowledge bystanders

Preventing Runover Accidents
  • Only start tractor while sitting in the seat
  • Dont disable safety switches
  • Place guard on starter terminals to prohibit
  • Always set parking brake before dismounting
  • Look for bystanders before starting tractor

Tractor Highway Accidents
  • Most tractor accidents occur
  • During planting and harvesting seasons
  • Between 3 pm and 6 pm
  • Where posted speed limits are greater than 50 mph
  • Most caused because of excessive speed of other

Safe Operation on Highways
  • Make sure the tractor is safe to drive (steering,
    brakes, etc.)
  • Make tractor visible to other drivers (SMV
    emblem, flashers, lights)
  • Drive at controllable speeds
  • Stay off of soft shoulders

Machinery and Implement Hazards
  • PTO and drive shaft entanglement
  • Contact with rotating parts
  • Pull-in injuries
  • Crushing injuries
  • Electrocution

PTO Entanglements
  • Usually occurs when clothing, hair or jewelry
    gets caught on bolt of drive shaft
  • Results in multiple, severe injury, loss of limb,
    strangulation, and/or death
  • PTOs turn from 540 to 1000 revolutions per minute

PTO Safety
  • Replace all damaged or missing PTO shields and
    drive shaft covers
  • Wear tight-fitted clothing
  • Put up hair
  • Remove all jewelry
  • Dont climb over or under drive shafts

Other Machinery Hazards
  • Shear and cut points
  • Pinch points
  • Wrap points
  • Crush points
  • Free-wheeling points
  • Pull-in points
  • Springs and chains
  • Hydraulic systems

Machinery Safety
  • Dont wear loose clothing around moving parts
  • Never reach over or work near rotating parts
  • Turn off machinery before performing maintenance
  • Never rely solely upon a machines hydraulic
    system to keep equipment suspended
  • Replace all missing and damage shields
  • Never place yourself between a tractor and
    implements when hitching
  • Never crawl under a machine or implement without
    first chocking or blocking
  • Never allow anyone near a chain when it is under

Livestock Hazards
  • Crushing injuries
  • Property damage
  • Diseases
  • Parasites

Livestock Considerations
  • Vision
  • Cattle have near-360-degree panoramic vision
  • Horses and swine have near-300-degree field of
  • Hearing
  • More sensitive than humans
  • Loud noises frightening
  • High-frequency sounds painful.

Livestock Considerations
  • Temperament
  • Each animal has its own personality
  • Become uncomfortable when personal space is
  • Routine is calming
  • Instinct
  • Females become aggressive when offspring are
  • Males aggressive when herd threatened and during
    mating period

Livestock Diseases and Parasites
  • Brucellosis
  • Tetanus
  • Ringworm
  • Salmonella
  • Leptospirosis
  • Rabies
  • Trichinosis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Keep vaccinations current
  • Wear boot coverings when on other farms
  • Isolate sick animals from the herd
  • Keep children and visitors away from sick

Livestock Safety
  • Maintain a non-threatening distance
  • Use a calm voice and deliberate movement
  • Dont startle the animal
  • Never prod an animal that has nowhere to go
  • Dont be abusive
  • Stay away from newborns

Electricity Hazards
  • Contact with overhead transmission lines
  • Absence of proper grounding
  • Overloaded circuits
  • Damaged wiring
  • Missing safety shields
  • Center pivot irrigation systems
  • Pond pumps

Contact with Power Lines
  • Many workers have been electrocuted when moving
    irrigation pipe (20 feet sections) and contact
    overhead power lines
  • Workers also electrocuted when moving grain
    augers and when contacting power lines with front
    end loaders

Electrical System Maintenance
  • Can you identify any problems?
  • Metal electricity water protection
    grounding an accident waiting to happen

Extension Cords
  • Dont use extension cords in wet areas
  • Dont try to repair them, replace them
  • Dont use them to tie or secure objects
  • Never run over cords with vehicles
  • Unplug cords from outlets when not in use

Chemical Hazards
  • Pesticides/herbicides
  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Water well contamination
  • Fertilizers
  • Animal medicines

Spraying Chemicals
  • Read and follow chemical material safety data
    sheets (MSDS)
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Follow label instructions for mixing and cleanup
  • Warn others of your intent to spray
  • Have an emergency plan in place

Anhydrous Ammonia
  • Used as a fertilizer in agriculture and a coolant
    in food processing
  • Stored as a liquid under pressure
  • Will freeze-burn skin upon contact
  • Vapors will burn skin, eyes, and can be fatal at
    high concentrations

Anhydrous Ammonia Theft
  • Key component in production of methamphetamines
  • Often stolen from temporary storage tanks located
    on farms and dealerships
  • Usually stolen in small quantities, multiple
    times, to avoid detection

Fire Hazards
  • Fueling and fuel storage
  • Electrical problems
  • Heaters
  • Dry, dusty confinement areas
  • Hay storage
  • Machinery
  • Welders and torches

Fueling and Fuel Storage
  • Store fuel tanks at least 40 feet from buildings
    and barns
  • Ground storage tanks in case of direct lightning
  • Never fuel a hot tractor or vehicle
  • Post no-smoking signs that are clearly visible
  • Erect barriers around tanks to prevent vehicles
    from running into them

Hay Baling and Stacking
  • Allow cut hay to dry sufficiently before baling
  • Uncured hay will increase cause temperature to
    increase in bales or hay stacks resulting in
    spontaneous combustion
  • Provide adequate ventilation around hay stacks to
    avoid overheating
  • Keep hay stacks at least 100 feet from buildings
    and dont park tractors near stacks

Tractor Fires
  • Oil, grease, dirty rags, and trash on machinery
    can result in devastation.
  • Be sure to grease and oil machinery on a regular

Material Storage Hazards
  • Engulfment
  • Asphyxiation
  • Suffocation
  • Falls from elevated surfaces
  • Contact with conveyance machinery

Grain Bin Engulfment
  • Grain inside a bin can form a crust on top, that
    when broken can engulf a person in a matter of
  • Never enter a grain bin without proper lifeline
  • Always let coworkers know when you must enter a
    grain bin

  • Stored silage will release toxic gases during the
    drying process
  • Opening the top of a silo from the top could
    result in asphyxiation and cause you to fall
  • Always wear proper respiratory equipment

Other Dangers
  • ATVs
  • Ponds
  • Irrigation canals
  • Uncapped wells
  • Sun exposure
  • Heat
  • Snakes, spiders, bees, etc.

ATV Safety
  • Never carry extra riders on an ATV not designed
    for passengers
  • Attend an ATV rider safety course
  • Know the limitation of the ATV
  • Always wear a helmet, long pants, gloves, and
    riding boots

Ponds and Open Water
  • Never swim in an irrigation canal or unfamiliar
  • Post no-swimming signs
  • Install a safety post with rope and flotation
    device at the edge of ponds

Sun Protection
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeve shirt
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Perform difficult tasks in the morning or evening

Things that bite, sting, and cause rashes
Yellow jacket
Black widow
For more information on these topics visit the
Agricultural Safety and Health web site _at_
  • http//