Family and hobby farms can be dangerous places. There are many opportunities for injury and sometimes even death. Here are some important safety tips for making your farm a safe workplace for you and your family.
1. Educate yourself about equipment — Whenever you invest in a new piece of equipment, read all of the accompanying literature and only operate equipment according to the manual. CropLife recommends also attending local workshops and safety seminars to learn about specific equipment. These can be found through your local cooperative extension.
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2. Beware of electrical hazards — According to the American Society of Safety Engineers, electrical hazards are very common on farms and can easily cause a fatal accident. Routinely inspect equipment, outlets, and electrical panels. Check wires and connections for damage from mice or other rodents.
3. Know your chemicals — CropLife recommends learning and staying up-to-date on all chemicals used on your farm. Take special precautions and wear appropriate protective gear when handling any chemicals.
4. Dress for safety — Avoid wearing loose clothing that can become entangled in equipment, says Hobby Farms. Also, wear gloves, protective goggles, and hearing protection. When working in dusty environments, wear a face mask or a respirator.
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5. Respect livestock — The better you understand animal behavior, the less likely you are to be caught off guard by aggressive behavior, says Hobby Farms. Practice good animal husbandry; animals that are sick, in pain, or in distress are more likely to be aggressive. Take extra precautions when breeding or birthing animals.
6. Learn about first aid — Be proactive about getting training for first aid and emergencies, advises CropLife. Being prepared can save your life. Also, keep emergency contact information easily visible in multiple locations around your farm.
7. Practice tractor safety — Ensure the roll-over protection structures are properly installed on your tractor. Hobby Farms warns against allowing anyone to ride on the tractor’s hitches, fenders, or attachments. Also, never start your tractor or any gas or diesel engine in a closed area where there isn’t good ventilation.
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