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Ag Safety STAT : December 2016
Thoughts from the Editor
Spot the Safety Issue
Giving for Safety’s Sake
Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety Leader
During holidays and the start of a new year, many consider how they can reach out to others to donate items, give of their time, or contribute financially to those in need. So whether you give out of abundance or out of necessity to improve your tax bracket, here are some safety and health ideas that will benefit those on the receiving end.
Community shelters may appreciate receiving these items, or will be able to distribute them to low-income households within the community:
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (include the batteries)
- Flashlights and portable LED lanterns of all sizes
- First Aid kits or contents to restock existing kits (bandages, ointments, sting medications)
- Kitchen-sized fire extinguishers
- New potholders to prevent burns in the kitchen
- Snow shovels and sidewalk salt to prevent slips and falls
- Personal health care items: toothbrushes and dental floss, wash cloths, toiletry items, and throw blankets.
While safety is important year round, these thoughtful giving ideas also make a statement to show you care. Peace of mind and safety can go hand in hand during the holiday season . . . give to those in need.
Welcoming Everyone to your Farm or Business
Laura Akgerman - Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility
Is your farm or business open to the public? Is your farm or business welcoming to people with disabilities? The American’s with Disabilities Act is a federal law that requires businesses to be accessible to people with disabilities, and it may apply to your business or farm.
If you are not sure if your business is accessible, here are a few questions to consider:
- Is your property welcoming to people of all abilities?
- Is there room in your parking area for a wheelchair accessible van to park, lower a ramp to the ground, and allow someone to exit the van and travel safely to a sidewalk or walking path?
- Is the surface of your parking area easy to travel across, or would someone in a wheelchair or walker get stuck in mud, gravel, grass, etc…?
- Could a person in a wheelchair access your property, public bathrooms, barns, and activity or program areas?
- Do you have any steps leading into your buildings? Even one step can keep someone with a disability from entering a building; a ramp or a level (no step) entrance is best for access.
- Are the entrances to your buildings or activity areas clear of any obstruction, structures, displays, furniture, etc…?
- Could a person in a wheelchair turn around or maneuver in or out of your business or activity area? A minimum turn radius is 60” x 60”, this will allow room for wheelchair or scooter users to safely turn around.
- Do you have information about how people could request accommodations listed on your brochures, website and advertisements?
For more information on The Americans with Disabilities Act: https://www.ada.gov/
Search small business, or technical standards for specific information. Your insurance provider may also have information about requirements for accessibility.
For more information about Ohio AgrAbility visit http://agrability.osu.edu or contact Laura Akgerman, Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility & OSU Extension Akgerman.firstname.lastname@example.org, 614-247-7681.
Working in Cold WeatherKent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Program Coordinator
Winter is around the corner and the day to day operations of the farm will continue despite ever increasing winter conditions such as colder temperatures, ice and snow. Farm activities such as feeding livestock, breaking ice in the water trough, cutting wood or loading stored grain can be increasingly difficult when exposed to winter conditions. Even though it may be tempting to “tough it out” or “work through it”, prolonged exposure to cold, wet, and windy conditions, can be dangerous, even at temperatures above freezing. When working in cold weather, precautions should be taken to minimize the risk injuries like frostbite or hypothermia.
To reduce exposure, clothing should be your first consideration when working in cold weather. Clothing should be selected to suit the temperature, weather conditions (e.g., wind speed, rain), the level and duration of activity. The following are recommendations for working in cold environments:
- Wear several layers of clothing. Trapped air between layers forms a protective insulation.
- Wear warm gloves, and keep an extra pair handy in case the first pair becomes wet.
- Wear a suitable hat that provides protection for your head, ears, and even your face in extreme conditions. Forty percent of a person’s body heat can be lost when the head is left exposed.
- Use the hoods of jackets or sweatshirts for added protection for your neck, head, face and ears.
- Wear appropriate footwear with warm socks. Footwear should not fit too tightly which could reduce blood flow to the feet and increase the risk of a cold injury.
- Wear synthetic, wool, or silk clothing next to the skin to wick away moisture. Cotton clothing can lose insulating properties when it becomes damp or wet.
Additional safety precautions while working in cold weather should include:
- If possible, perform high exposure work tasks during the warmest part of the day
- Avoid getting wet. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), body heat can be lost 24 times faster when clothing is wet.
- Take short frequent breaks in areas sheltered from the elements, to allow the body to warm up.
- Avoid exhaustion and fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
- Consume warm, high calorie foods to maintain energy reserves.
- Drink warm sweet beverages, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, to avoid dehydration.
- Work in pairs (buddy system), especially in remote areas, to keep an eye on each other and watch for signs of cold stress.
- Have a cell phone handy, to call for help in the event of an emergency.
- Shielding work areas from the elements can reduce wind chill or the chances of getting wet.
- Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, seek a warm location, remove any wet clothing, warm the center of the body first, and get medical help as soon as possible.
Preparing for That Outside of the Box Emergency, Are You Ready?
Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator
When events happen like the recent attack at OSU it strengthens our communities and state if we can step back and analyze our own plan of action, learn, adjust and grow. Emergency action plans are often done in an effort to meet a workplace mandate then tucked away in a filing cabinet and forgotten. It is time to dust off those plans, take a peak at them, update the missing pieces, and make a concerted effort to open a dialog about the “what ifs” as they relate to your workplace, farm, or home. Focusing on what can make us stronger in the aftermath of events like these is a way to build some unity and provide assurance to employees. Workers and family members want to know what steps to take and who’s lead to follow if an emergency situation arises in their own workplace.
“Any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site,” is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) definition of workplace violence for today’s workforce.
Here are a few ways to prevent and resolve conflicts before they erupt into workplace violence:
· Establish a prevention and reparation policy against harassment and promote it within the workplace
· Write clear codes of conduct
· Provide awareness and training sessions
· Intervene in conflicts to ensure they do no escalate into harassment or acts of violence
· Open effective lines of communication
· Manage work teams to create quality relationships among team members
· Foster the acceptance of individual differences
· Encourage everyone to report any violent incidents
Workplace violence can escalate quickly, so the actions taken in the initial minutes of these types of emergencies are critical. Prompt warning to employees can save lives.
If you find your organization looking for guidance on developing an emergency action plan to cover not only workplace violence, but also a wide realm of emergencies, there are many resources available. The links that follow may provide helpful information for your workplace, farm, or home.
OSU has some great agricultural specific resources at the Agritourismready website, http://u.osu.edu/agritourismready/.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designed a worksheet to get you thinking about the needs in your own workplace, however big or small your organization may be. Located at, https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/EmergencyResponsePlan.pdf.
OSHA has a section of their website devoted to Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool, at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/evacuation/eap.html
The OSU Department of Public Safety devotes a page of their website instructing how to respond to an active shooter with a Safety Messing Toolkit link included at the bottom of the page. It can be found at, https://dps.osu.edu/active-shooter
Spot the Safety Issue