Ag Safety STAT: April 2017

Ag Safety S.T.A.T. – Safe Tactics for Ag Today is an electronic newsletter prepared by team members from the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety & Health Office. The goal is to provide seasonal safety news and activities that may be re-published in your own newsletters or programs. If you have safety-related questions or program ideas that you would like to share, please contact Dee Jepsen at
For a printable version please click here.

  1. Safe Digging Practices for the Farm

    Spring and summer seasons seem to spark additional excavation projects on the farm. National Safe Digging Month is recognized in April, at the beginning of this season.  The goal of this awareness campaign is to remind project designers and landowners to use the 811 hotline number to determine any underground utilities. No matter how big or small the task – anything from installing fences to using large tillage tools to rip the soil crust – it’s important to call 811 before the project starts. Never assume what you can’t see; high optic cable, phone, water and gas lines may be in your digging zone. The national 811 hotline protects the workers and environment from dangers of underground utilities. 

  2. Celebrating Occupational Therapy Outreach for the Farm

    April is occupational therapy (OT) month. OT practitioners focus on helping clients perform everyday activities to their highest potential. In Ohio, we also recognize the OT’s who help farmers stay farming after a life changing condition. These conditions can be the results of an injury, and also injuries that occur off the farm. Health related conditions may include chronic arthritis, genetic conditions from birth, as well as limitations from short- or long-term surgeries.

    The Ohio AgrAbility Program works with OT practitioners to promote independence for people in agriculture. This program conducts on-site assessments for the worker to determine how he or she performs their job and helps find solutions that will meet their needs. Solutions often involve inexpensive modifications that help the person complete a job that might otherwise be difficult or impossible.

    The Ohio AgrAbility Program is available in all Ohio counties. Learn more about the program on our website

  3. Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative (PERC)

    PERC is a cooperative agreement between the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs and University of California Davis Extension, in collaboration with Oregon State University. PERC is the clearinghouse for the development of pesticide education materials specifically approved for the EPA’s Worker Protection Standard.  The site contains WPS training materials, video resources, and handouts. To review the site visit:

  4. Wellness: Exercise and Eat Healthy to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

    Laura Akgerman Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility

    April is time for planting crops, enjoying spring flowers, and planning your garden. The weather is warmer, it’s a treat to go outside for a walk, and all of your New Year’s health resolutions seem attainable. There are many reasons to exercise and eat healthy: it’s nice to be outside and active, you feel better, you may lose some weight, and you want to impress your doctor at your next checkup. Being active and healthy can increase your chances of living a long and healthy life.

     In 2016 President Obama proclaimed April as National Cancer Control Month, and asked all Americans “to join in activities that will increase awareness of what Americans can do to prevent and control cancer.” It’s a great idea, but do you know where to start? The American Cancer Society (ACS) has a Stay Healthy page with tips on exercise, sun safety, healthy eating, how to quit smoking, and cancer screenings at the (ACS) website,  

    Exercise to reduce your risk of cancer. Physical activity not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, it can help improve your immune system, and it reduces your chances of developing heart disease and diabetes. Adults should get moderate exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Not sure how hard you have to exercise to get health benefits? Moderate exercise should make you breathe as hard as you would if you were walking briskly. You also need to limit the time you spend sitting or lying down, 150 minutes of moderate exercise cannot cancel out hours and hours of not being active. For more information about exercise and cancer, Get Active at the ACS website.

    Healthy eating can reduce your risk of cancer. Eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and protein, and limit fried or processed foods. Easy to say, hard to do. Most of us are very busy, with little time to prepare three healthy meals a day. Planning your meals for the week, and cutting up enough vegetables and fruit for several days makes healthy eating much easier. Take a few hours on the weekend to plan your menu for the week. Choose recipes that make good leftovers, prepare the ingredients, cut up vegetables and fruit, and you can eat healthy lunches and dinners, with minimal cooking, all week. While you are prepping your meals, you can also cook a big batch of soup, all you need is low sodium or no salt added broth, vegetables, canned beans, a whole grain or whole wheat pasta, a little meat and seasoning, and you may never eat canned soup again! For healthy snacks and meals, see Dashboard Dining at the ACS website. 

    Ohio State University Extension’s Family and Consumer Sciences offers an online Dining with Diabetes: Beyond the Kitchen program that helps you make healthy food choices at restaurants, and offers advice on meal planning and preparation. The program is a great resource for anyone who wants to eat healthy, not just for people with diabetes.

    For more information about Ohio AgrAbility visit or contact Laura Akgerman, Ohio AgrAbility & OSU Extension Disability Services Coordinator, at, or 614-292-0622.

  5. Stay Safe During Spring Planting Season

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator 

    Spring planting is a time when farmers and farm workers are continuously moving from one piece of equipment to another and climbing on equipment to fill with seed or make repairs.  Long hours, fatigue, rushing to beat the incoming weather, and working into the night can all contribute to injuries. This is a time that farmers and farm workers should take extra precaution when working around farm equipment and consider the consequences of an injury during spring planting season.  Precautions to reduce the risk of injuries this spring can include:

    - To reduce fatigue, try to get enough sleep.  This is your body’s time to rest.

    - Plan out your day’s activities.

    - Take short breaks throughout the day.  Get out of the tractor for a few minutes, and to give your mind and body a chance to revitalize.

    - Follow the procedures in the operator’s manual of equipment for safe operation, maintenance, and trouble shooting

    - Keep equipment properly maintained and check all guards are in position and correctly fitted before starting work.

    - Insure equipment has adequate lighting for working in the dark. Increase caution when working in early morning or late evening when daylight is diminished.

    - Maintain 3 points of contact when mounting or dismounting equipment.
             (1 hand and 2 feet) or (2 hands and 1 foot)

    - Ensure that steps, hand holds, and railings are in safe operating condition.

    - Exercise caution when steps or walking surfaces are wet or dirty.

    - Avoid jumping off of the last step and anticipate changes in ground elevation or rough terrain when dismounting from the last step.

    - Be alert to you surroundings. Know where equipment is being positioned and be observant to individuals who may be walking around equipment.

    - Plan ahead and utilize safe methods when hitching and unhitching equipment.

    - When working with others around equipment, maintain eye contact and communicate your intentions with the other person.

    - Use Personal Protective Equipment when appropriate (ear plugs, safety glasses, gloves, respirator, etc.)

    - Review all fertilizer and pesticide labels or Safety Data Sheets prior to using the product.

    - Utilize safe travel routes between fields, and take into account potential problems with automobile traffic and narrow roadways. Use escort vehicles when needed.

    For more information about the OSU Ag Safety visit or contact Kent McGuire, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at or 614-292-0588.

  6. Preparedness Is Having a Plan

    Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

    Inclement weather is a part of spring in Ohio and being prepared is a means for preventing the worst outcome. Take a look at the loss of life in 2015 due to weather.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lays out a helpful preparedness list on their website. Tailoring it for the farm, here are some of the key components they included that you can enact before severe weather hits:

    • Develop a disaster plan. The American Red Cross offers planning tips and information on a putting together a disaster supplies kit at:
    • Identify a safe place to take shelter.
    • Know the county/parish in which you live or visit – and in what part of that county you are located. The National Weather Service issues severe weather warnings on a county/parish basis, or for a portion of a county/parish.
    • Keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.
    • Have a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver unit with a warning alarm tone and battery back-up to receive warning bulletins. National Weather Service (NWS) watches and warnings are also available on the Internet. Select your local NWS office at:

    Having an established Emergency Action Plan for the farm is a great tool to have access to in weather emergency as well. The EAP should include information that encompasses contact names and numbers, escape routes, maps of the farm property and remote fields/locations, a livestock inventory, chemical storage locations and contents, electrical shutoffs, chains of command, utilities coming into the property and how to control, and any additional emergency resources specific to the operation. This is not an exhaustive list, but a good list to start you thinking about what to include in an EAP specific to your farm.

    For more information about Emergency Management visit or contact Lisa Pfeifer, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at or 614-292-9455.