Sept. 2 2015 06:22 AM

Autumn is the perfect time to promote farm health and safety.

National Farm Safety & Health Week, September 20 to 26, is the perfect time to reiterate why safety matters. Whether it's your first or 51st harvest, we all need reminders about the dangers that can present themselves as a result of heightened machinery use and transportation. The event is hosted by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) at Northeast Iowa Community College.

Ag Safety logo

In conjunction, the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center is launching an Ag Safety Pledge campaign, to raise awareness and to promote farm safety. The pledge contains safety reminders for those on farms, both animal and crop. Those in agriculture began taking the pledge in August and it will remain available until September 30th. It is located on the UMASH website.

UMASH Agricultural Safety and Health Pledge
To make agricultural safety and health part of my lifestyle, I pledge to:
  • Wash my hands after handling animals or leaving animal facilities
  • Apply sunscreen when going outside, even on cloudy days
  • Be PALS (calm and patient) when moving animals
  • Use proper technique to avoid accidental needlesticks
  • Wear proper ear protection when working around loud equipment or machinery
  • Adopt a "no riders" policy
  • Keep floors and walkways clear of obstacles and hazards
  • Encourage friends, family, and employees to follow safe and healthy farm practices
  • Speak up if I see someone doing something unsafe
  • Print and hang pledge poster
  • Share pledge with others: Tweet @umash_umn using #FSHWPledge
Others items that I would include in the pledge include:
  • Consider fencing in children's play areas near driveways, especially with harvest traffic
  • Remind employees and visitors of additional traffic and inform drivers of overhead electrical line locations
  • Keep water handy for those on tractors for extended periods of time to prevent dehydration

This video shares firsthand how quickly the seemingly harmless scraping of corn into the auger tray can become life threatening when it catches hold of clothing. It also uses a simulated arm to show why augers are so dangerous and especially hard to remove a limb from the augers.

Anyone, farmer or not, can promote safety through their social media campaign platforms using the hashtags #FSHWPledge, #Farmsafety and #FSHW15.

Awareness can save lives. We won't know how many people were not injured or killed because they practiced farm safety, but we will all become aware of those that didn't. Safe harvest!

Hurtgen blog footer

The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.