Taking safety precautions a must for farmers

By KEENAN BISHOP Extension Agent for Agriculture Published:

Unfortunately, most everyone knows of someone who has been injured or killed in a farming accident. We all have experienced that moment when we realize that we have pushed the limit and are on the edge of something bad potentially happening. Fortunately, most of the time we come out unscathed and a little wiser.

It can be as simple as not wearing safety glasses while grinding and have a piece of metal barely miss your eye. Or as big as finding a new hole in the pasture while mowing and almost upsetting the tractor!

Sharon Spencer, Franklin County Farm Bureau president, wants to get the word out about farm safety. Its something we all are aware of and know the proper precautions but it is just human nature to take short cuts when were in a hurry or doing something that weve done a thousand times before. Sharon offers the following information from the Farm Bureau:

In baseball, a player can make three mistakes before striking out. But in farming, it can take only one strike to put a player out of the game for good. Nolan Ryan, Hall of Fame pitcher and rancher, joins Farm Bureau in urging farm and ranch families to take time to review safety practices during Agricultural Safety Awareness Week, March 5-11,and to continue looking for other ways to ensure a safe spring, summer and harvest this year.

Safety is a big part of preparing my ranch for the busy times ahead and preventing injuries is a good way to have a truly successful season, said Ryan. Making sure all safety features are up-to-date, in place and in good condition is one place to start. Another is establishing a plan for emergency situations and reviewing it with your family and employees.

Along with equipment and facility maintenance, its also important to remember personal maintenance. Wear the right protective gear, work on one job at a time, and take enough breaks to make sure you stay alert and focused.

The Farm Bureau Safety and Health Network, along with Ryan, has chosen Step Up to the Plate for Farm Safety as the 2006 theme for Agricultural Safety Awareness Week to call attention to safety as farmers and ranchers prepare for the year ahead.

Parents and grandparents can keep safety in the family for generations to come by coaching children including visiting children on safety practices such as following a no extra-riders policy for tractors and equipment, wearing personal protective gear and being alert around animals.

Agriculture has a rich tradition of involving all members of the family in the operation, said Ryan. And what better way to keep them involved than through safety.

For more information, contact Marsha Purcell, Managing Director, American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, by calling (800) 443-8456 or e-mailing to marshap@fb.org.

Or, visit www.AgSafetyNow.com for more news releases, PSAs and safety information. The Farm Bureau Safety and Health Network is made up of professionals affiliated with state Farm Bureaus who share an interest in identifying and decreasing safety and health risks associated with agricultural and rural life.

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