Dee Jepsen—State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader
As the end of 2015 draws closer, there may be families and businesses looking for ways to reduce taxes by lowering their reportable annual profit. While the OSU Safety Program does not typically provide tax advice, there are some great safety ideas that can help agricultural operations looking to make an investment in safety. In the long run these purchases can do more than save a tax dollar, they may just save a life or prevent property loss.
For those small purchases, in comparison to the cost of office supplies, consider buying N-95 dust respirators, earplugs or ear muffs. Stock up supplies for the First Aid kits, or purchase new kits for farm and employee vehicles. Replace damaged or missing SMV emblems and fire extinguishers on combines and field machinery. An idea for grain bin facilities is to purchase a fall protection harness, available in roofing sections of the larger hardware stores.
Medium-ranged purchases include replacing damaged ladders, adding protective guards to mobile and stationary equipment, and making lighting improvement to barns and workstations with poor visibility. Retrofitting tractors with ROPS (rollover protective structures) can be a medium- to large-size investment, but many dealers will sell and install the retrofits at their cost, with minimal retail mark-up.
Substantial investments to capital assets could include completely ditching the loyalty to the vintage tractors still used on the farm. Typically older models have less safety features and require more maintenance. By upgrading to a newer model with safer systems throughout and wider-set wheelbases to maintain a stable center of gravity, newer models can typically handle more HP load and improve fuel efficiency. Other farm improvement capital investments may be to the farm shop’s ventilation system, especially to improve exhaust capacity in welding areas. Another improvement could be to the electrical design systems, making an effort to replace old wiring, open breaker boxes, and broken conduit in buildings, and eliminating overhead lines with buried power. Many of the older grain handling facilities should consider converting to Three Phase underground supplied electrical systems.
While safety is important to practice everyday, this time of year is a good time to consider investments that will put you in a safer place, and improve your position for taxable income. It’s not just your financial liability that will benefit from these planned strategies.