One of the topics that I am really interested in learning about is farm safety. However, often I found sessions on farm safety very overwhelming. They involve a comprehensive safety plan for every aspect of the farm and I left the session feeling like an accident waiting to happen. I didn’t ever walk out with an action plan I could implement that day, week or even that year.
So, I put on my teacher hat and pulled out what I know about learning to start a conversation on this topic. Since our brain needs to hear something at least six times before we can internalize our learning, we will revisit this topic (and many of our topics) again. But, the key is to not get overwhelmed and to do something! Large scale, safety-motivated infrastructure or equipment changes can take time and be expensive – they can’t all happen at once. Comprehensive farm safety plans take time. For instance, many of us live on yards designed for equipment that was much smaller than that of modern farm practices. However, I came to realize that getting overwhelmed with the ideal didn’t help make anyone safer. Instead, taking concrete actions, even if they were small, toward improving safety is much better than a book full of resources and planning templates that gather dust on my office shelf. Someday my goal is to have them all completed and put into action, but until then…
Here are some small steps we have taken to make our farm safer.
- Make sure hearing protection was available where you need it. No one walks back to the house or drives back to the shop to get hearing protection. We have LOTS of sets of hearing protection because that is what needs to happen to make sure it is used.
- Ditto for eye protection!
- Get enough fire extinguishers and make sure operators know where they are located in or on their vehicle. Remember to match the extinguisher type to the piece of equipment.
- Practice 911 calls. Do mock skits… Silly but learning happens when we actually do something and when we attach emotion to something.
- Put a print copy of a property description listings in every vehicle. This may seem old-school, but our technology is not always reliable in our remote locations. This also allows everyone to have the information for a location, even if they are not physically there. Our emergency description listing includes:
o the physical land description (section, township, range)
o the emergency blue sign number, for those sites that are yardsites
o directions from the nearest town, as this is not always the way we approach a field location
- Have a safety meeting for new employees. Review a basic safety manual. (Email me at Teresa@FarmFemmes.com for an outline of what we include in our safety manual.)
There are lots of great farm safety resources available. The key to making this safety learning successful is to break it into bit sized pieces, so we can move from theory into do-able actions.