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‘SAFER’ principles for your farm

Chuck Schwartau Published on 12 April 2010

As spring fever hits on these nice, sunny days, it is a good time to do a safety scan of your farm to be sure when you hit the fields you and your workforce are working in as safe an environment as possible.

I came across this simple acronym awhile back that may be a good way to organize your safety efforts.

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• See – identify the hazards to health and safety on the farm.

• Assess – decide the risk associated with the hazard.

• Fix – take appropriate action to control the risk.

• Evaluate – check that your controls are effective.

• Record – record actions you take or plan.

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The simple outline helps insure effective action by small, systematic steps.

See
Some hazards jump out at you while you are working around the farm, but others are more subtle. On a less hectic day, why not put the staff to work on routine safety inspections? If possible, work in pairs, actually talking about what is seen. Often one person sees things another takes for granted. Remind them to look for little things as well as big ones. Have the assessors make notes that can be brought back to a staff meeting for sharing and review.

Assess
Talk about the hazards identified and assess the degree of risk they present. Prioritize the hazards so the most hazardous ones are addressed first.

Fix
Now, actually get at fixing things! Getting some of those small hazards fixed before they become big ones can be very cost- and time-effective as well as reducing a hazard.

Evaluate
Check back to be sure what you intended to correct really got done and is correcting the problem you saw earlier. Was the ‘fix’ cosmetic or effective?

Record
This step may sound a bit over the top to some, but especially on farms with non-family employees, a record of actions taken to correct safety hazards provides another degree of protection. If an injury accident ever does occur, OSHA could be looking at the farm’s safety procedures and practices. Records of what you do on a routine basis can be a big help and potentially save significant dollars.

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A SAFER procedure on your farm can lead to a safer place to live and work. PD

Excerpts from agbuzz.com

Chuck Schwartau
  • Chuck Schwartau

  • Extension Educator
  • University of Minnesota
  • Email Chuck Schwartau

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