Every year, thousands of farm workers are injured and hundreds more die in accidents. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the nation. It’s important to teach all workers about safety, and young, inexperienced workers need additional education about hazards specific to working on farm.
Most farm accidents and fatalities involve machinery.
Walk through the farm with the teen worker and point out the following hazards:
- Tractors are involved in a high number of farm fatalities and injuries.
- Struck-by – Farm machinery can cause accidents, but employees can also get hit by livestock.
- Chemicals and pesticides can enter the body in many ways, including inhalation, contact with skin and clothes and accidental ingestion (such as eating with unwashed hands).
- Organic dust comes from hay, grain, fuel chips, straw and livestock. It includes moulds, pollens, bacteria, pesticides, chemicals and feed, bedding and animal particles.
- Overexertion – Prolonged reaching, bending and lifting can lead to muscle aches, strains and sprains.
- Confined Spaces – Employees are at risk of being overcome by gases when entering sites such as a manure pit, silo or grain bin without proper ventilation. Workers entering a grain bin being emptied are also at risk of being crushed or suffocated by flowing grain.
- Electrocution is one of the most overlooked hazards of farm work. The most common cause of electrocutions are portable grain augers, oversized wagons, large combines and other tall equipment that comes into contact with overhead power lines.
- Falls are the most common accidents in agriculture. Falls of just 3.6 metres can kill an employee. Many falls occur because of slips and trips that can be avoided by wearing proper shoes.
Using protective equipment and being aware of surroundings can help decrease the chances of being hurt.
Tell young workers that they will be expected to follow ’s safe work practices, which include the following:
- If under age 16, employees cannot: operate a tractor and certain types of machinery, handle certain classes of chemicals, work inside a fruit, forage or grain storage structure, work in a manure pit, work on a ladder or scaffold over 6 metres high and/or work in a yard or stall with a bull, boar or stud horse.
- Receive proper training before operating any machinery.
- Ensure all loose clothing and long hair has been secured to prevent entanglement in machinery.
- Use safe practices when hitching and unhitching wagons.
- Use care and common sense when working with animals. Never try to hurry an angry or aggressive animal.
- Wash hands before using the washroom, applying cosmetics or eating.
- Wear any provided personal protective equipment (PPE), such as an air-purifying disposable particulate respirator, especially when working in enclosed areas that may contain dust.
- Maintain good back posture while working.
- Take frequent stretch breaks to avoid muscle strain.
- Never enter a confined space without a respirator before confirming the space has sufficient oxygen, and never enter solo.
- Watch out for overhead electrical lines. Treat them as though they are bare.
- Wear shoes and boots with slip-resistant soles and heels.