Use these Agricultural Safety Awareness Week tips to keep kids safe on the farm.

Introducing production agriculture to young children is important – maybe even critical – as they are our next generation of farmers and ranchers. However, farming can be hazardous, and there are several agricultural safety precautions that must be taken to ensure kids remain safe.

With the goal of raising awareness of agricultural safety and health, the Southeastern Coastal Center for Agricultural Health and Safety has teamed up with the American Farm Bureau and the U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers to promote Agricultural Safety Awareness Week March 4-10 with the theme, “No One Can Take Your Place.”

Each day has a different theme, which we’ve outlined below – read on to learn more about how you can help keep children (and everyone else) safe on the farm.

Monday, March 5: Hearing

It’s no secret that farm equipment can be loud, but you may not realize just how much those noises can damage one’s hearing. In fact, loud noise is the most common cause of permanent hearing loss. Also important to note, noise-induced hearing loss doesn’t heal and can’t be corrected with hearing aids.

To prevent hearing loss, earplugs or earmuffs that seal well around the ear should be worn by anyone who is near loud noises. While earplugs made of rubber, plastic, wax, foam, and “Swedish wool” are acceptable, ordinary cotton will not work and should not be used as a hearing protector.

Tuesday, March 6: Respiratory

Not all respiratory protectors are created equal. The first step in ensuring respiratory protection is identifying the hazards that may be encountered.

For example, many pesticide labels will require handlers or applicators to wear a specific from of protection designed to ensure safety when using their products. When working in conditions that may expose you to toxic dust, workers should wear a respirator approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) such as the N95 air-purifying disposable particulate respirator. All masks should create a seal on the wearer’s face.

Wednesday, March 7: Heat Illness

Working to prevent heat illnesses like heat stroke and heat exhaustion is crucial during the steamy summer months no matter your age, but young children are even more susceptible to heat stress in agriculture settings. Extra precautions should be taken to protect children when high heat stress situations are unavoidable.

Heat safety tips include:

  • Ensure that everyone who is working or spending time outdoors is wearing light-colored, lightweight, and loose clothing.
  • One cup of water should be consumed for every 15 to 30 minutes spent in the heat for every two hours spent in the sun.
  • One 15-minute break should be taken in a cool or shaded area.
  • Explore more tips to help you stay safe in the heat.

Thursday, March 8: Fishery Safety

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, commercial fishing ranks among the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., and observers are not immune to the dangers.

To keep those aboard your vessel safe, require that passengers are aware of emergency procedures and cold-water survival skills. Also, keep your vessel equipped with life rafts and personal flotation devices, and ensure each child on board is wearing a flotation device at all times.

Friday, March 9: General Health and Safety

Keep kids and others on your farm safe by properly storing items that cause injuries – tools, equipment, power cords, fence wire, and baler cord – and store pesticides and other toxic materials in locked areas.

Additionally, take the time to teach children how to safely interact with livestock, and maintain safety zones around buildings and structures such as grain bins, silos, barn hay-drop openings, and manure pits.

Keeping safe on the farm is a key to your operation’s success. When you’re ready to discuss another key to success—farm finances—give us a call. One of our land loan experts will be happy to discuss ways our spectrum of loan solutions can help your operation stay on the path to financial health.