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Released: January 31, 2003

How Safe Is Your Farm?

Manhattan, Kan. – Identifying and correcting hazards on the farm is one of the best ways to prevent farm accidents. During times of the year when farm work is slower, it’s a good idea to take a critical look around buildings and animal facilities for potential safety hazards. Following is a farm hazard checklist, from K-State Research and Extension’s Ag Safety and Health Program, to use for evaluating the safety of your farm.

Buildings:

* Are buildings free of unnecessary accumulations of trash, junk and other materials that could feed or start a fire or cause falls?

* Do stairs have handrails and are they being maintained – i.e. are they clear of objects and in good repair?

* Are buildings adequately lighted?

* Are “head bumpers” such as low ceilings, beams, or low doors marked with warning signs? Are buckets, tools, and other items hung so that someone’s head won’t hit them?

* Is there ample walking space between stored machines?

* Are keys removed from stored machines?

* Are stacked materials and supplies stored so they will not fall on someone or collapse if a worker climbs on them? Are they blocking walkways?

* Is there a fire extinguisher in the building? If so, is it the correct size and type for potential fires in that building? Also, is there a nearby water supply?

* Are toxic substances locked up and out of reach of children and pets?

Animal Facilities:

* Are pens, gates, and fences in good repair?

* Are steps and walkways roughened in animal facilities to prevent slips and falls? Are those same walkways kept clear of manure, snow, mud and spilled grain?

* Is feeding, grinding and feed handling equipment properly shielded with all shields in place?

* In confinement housing, are vents and fans in good operating condition?

* Are heaters or heat lamps kept away from combustible materials?

* Are permanent heating units properly installed and vented?

* Are animal pharmaceuticals and barn chemicals kept in their original containers in a secure area out of the reach of children?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then that hazard probably exists on your farm and you should take steps to correct it. Now is a good time to make a farmstead safety assessment, before spring field work begins.

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K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
Kerri Ebert, Extension Assistant
K-State Research& Extension News

Additional Information:
Kerri Ebert is at 785-532-2976