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Farm Safety Check 

Remember when you were a kid with a chore list and you finally checked them all off? Well now we have a new Farm Safety check list for you! 

Farming Smarter Safety Officer Shelly Barclay says, “Farming Smarter does Farm Safety Checks often. We also hold annual safety orientations and make all our new employees sign off on their own copy of our safety manual. We recognize that the work we do can be dangerous and we want all our employees to be safe here.” 

 Lewis Baarda and Sara Gateman laugh over the success of the floating head spray guy. Floating head guy was a demonstration tool for an Open Farm Day at Farming Smarter
Lewis Baarda and Sara Gateman laugh over the success of the floating head spray guy. Floating head guy was a demonstration tool for an Open Farm Day at Farming Smarter

Farm Safety Check is a quick monthly review to identify and fix potential hazards before they cause harm to your family and employees.  Each month, Farm Safety Check focuses on a different topic and offers checklists and tips to help identify hazards. It also suggests resources to remedy any problems. 

“Each farm is unique,” said Bruce Alexander, Director of the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) that launched Farm Safety Check in 2017. “It takes an individual approach to address common hazards. The best way to do that is to create a routine way to review the farm environment for potential hazards.” 

The UMASH Farm Safety Check is a printable checklist with new topics added monthly. The checklist keeps farms on track all year without overwhelming farmers with information and additional work. 

“Health and safety on the farm are an attainable goal with some conscious effort in prevention and control measures,” Alexander said. 

Things to look for include: 

  • Are buildings free of trash, junk or tools in the walkways and work areas? 
  • Is wiring free of damage and unexposed? 
  • Are heat lamps securely placed, clean and in good repair? 
  • Are flammable liquids stored in ventilated areas away from sources of heat? 
  • Are electrical wires firmly supported or in a conduit? 
  • Do all workers know how to shut off power in case of an emergency? 

“There are checklists for fire preparedness, electrical safety and general farm building safety,” said Scott Heiberger, communications manager at the National Farm Medicine Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute.. “It could actually be a 3-for-1 walkthrough, since these three topics are so interrelated.” 

The checklists also provide an excellent way of beginning the safety conversation with your family and employees and for reinforcing safety behaviors year ‘round. 

For more information, visit https://umash.umn.edu/umash-farm-safety-check/, email umash@umn.edu or call 612-626-4826.