Do a winter safety audit
Not only does winter bring on less than ideal working temperatures, weather, and so forth, it can also cause a spike in work-related accidents. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, there were 20,460 injuries related to ice, sleet, and snow. These were just the incidents reported, which do not include those that might be labelled as “minor.” Although some might be thought of as such, they still disrupt normal routine.
Many employees, including dairy farmers, can probably admit that once they are used to consistent schedules and routines, it can be easy to go through the motions faster and not think twice about it. In icy and cold conditions, those exact actions are what can cause someone to have an accident or even face the consequences of permanent damage to their bodies.
According to The Ohio State University Extension’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program, safety revolving around cold weather can start with our feet–literally. Having footwear that is not only comfortable to support the long days, but those that provide slip resistance and traction are important. Footwear that will keep you warm with traction to the ground will make it that much easier to take shorter strides or even shuffle in the winter months.
Aside from needing appropriate traction and skid, the same is true for the ground, flooring, and equipment. Whether this includes applying salt, sand, gravel, or another abrasive-like material to a surface, the texture can make all the difference. It may take a bit more time to apply, but it will keep everyone safe in the long run. Additionally, utilizing areas with grass can help you stay balanced and avoid injury.
When climbing onto equipment or walking onto a different surface, remember to stop and evaluate conditions that may cause harm. This may include grabbing onto handrails, a post, or something else to prevent a fall. On the other hand, keeping hands out of pockets may help to break a fall if they do occur. After getting off equipment, make sure that the ground below is safe with solid footing to prevent an injury.
Having safe footing is not only necessary for walking purposes, but also serves a purpose when driving equipment. Ensure that tractors, feed trucks, and more are safe to maneuver in cold conditions. Knowing the land and where traction can be found is important. For example, being knowledgeable about large holes or ditches is necessary to avoid injury. Furthermore, if equipment has to be taken on the road, avoiding icy spots on the pavement or even “black ice” can save a life.
Although farm safety in the frigid months may seem a bit excessive from time to time, remember that in this case, the simple, less-excited routines are what we should crave.