Ag Safety STAT: December 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. Holiday Disaster Planning – Little Ideas for Thoughtful Giving

    Dee Jepsen – State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

    The year 2017 had many devastating disasters, both natural and man-made. As our nation continues to clean up after floods, wildfires, and other tragedies, it is particularly easy to care for the immediate need, and take safety needs for granted.

    After restoring power and replenishing the food pantries, homes and businesses need to consider how to replace items in their emergency kits. The holidays are perfect times to give items of this nature. Low-income families and community shelters appreciate receiving, as we give the gift of future safety planning and preparedness. Some of the popular items include:

    Flashlights and portable LED lanterns of all sizes (include the batteries)
    Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (include the batteries)
    Kitchen-sized fire extinguishers
    Snow shovels and sidewalk salt to prevent slips and falls
    Vehicle safety kits (jumper cables, blankets, flares and flashlights)
    First Aid kits or contents to restock existing kits (bandages, ointments, sting medications)


    Safety is important year round. During holidays and the start of a new year, consider how you can give peace of mind.

    For more information about OSU Ag Safety visit: or contact Dee Jepsen at or 614-292-6008.

  2. Winter Safety Tips

    The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness has put together several resources for emergency preparedness during the winter months. More information can be found by clicking on,

  3. Happy Healthy Holidays – How to manage your work and health while indulging in holiday treats and parties

    Laura Akgerman Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility

    Most of us still continue to work through the holiday season. If you farm, the animals still need fed, the equipment needs inspected and repaired, and next year’s work needs planned. And just like the work that needs done, don’t stop paying attention to your eating, health and exercise just because holiday obligations are on the calendar.

    During the holiday season it’s easy to eat, drink and be merry, and forget that you have diabetes, or another health condition that is impacted by your diet. Take time to assess your health, see where you could make improvements, and make a plan for better eating, more exercise, and ways to work smarter, not harder. Ohio AgrAbility has a Farming with Diabetes fact sheet that offers helpful tips for managing your diabetes while working on the farm. For other Ohio AgrAbility fact sheets, please see the Ohio AgrAbility resource page at .

    If you don’t have diabetes, but have a family member or friend who does, please consider their dietary restrictions when preparing holiday meals, or gifts of food & drinks. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring food. Although fruits and vegetables are not as fun to eat as candy and cake, they can still be delicious, and planning healthy meals can keep you, your family and friends safe and healthy through the holidays (no one wants to go the emergency room because their blood sugar is too high or too low). This article has several suggestions for healthy eating, for more options and recipes, an Internet search for easy holiday recipes for diabetes will give you many, many resources. 

    If you are making food for holiday gifts and snacking, look at healthy options – nuts with spices and herbs, salsa or bean based dips (instead of cream cheese dips), good quality dark chocolate instead of brownies, shortbread instead of frosted cookies, sparking water and fruit juice instead of soda. Portion size is important also, don’t expect anyone to cut a brownie or cookie in half before they eat it! Cut small portions, if you are wrapping individual gifts, use small pieces, and include nuts with the cookies.

    The Centers for Disease Control offers 5 Healthy eating tips for the holidays, these are good tips for anyone, with or without a health condition.

    Holiday proof your eating plan
    Eat at or near your usual meal times to keep your blood sugar steady. If you are eating later than normal, have a small (healthy) snack, then eat less of your meal later. If you have dessert, or another sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (potatoes or bread) during the meal.
    Outsmart the buffet
    Start with vegetables and fruits, and take your time eating, it takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize your full. If you are hosting – make sure there are plenty of fruits and vegetables available, and consider a healthy fruit tart or berries and cream dessert instead of a heavy cake or pie.
    Fit in favorites
    Eat the foods you love in small amounts (especially if you only have them at the holidays), and balance sweets and healthy food with lighter, healthier food (vegetables and fruit).
    Keep moving
    Exercise and physical activity help reduce stress, and can help you maintain your weight and health if you are eating more than usual. If you don’t have time, break your activity into smaller sessions – take the stairs, walk with family and friends after a meal, or take the dog for a long walk.
    Get your Zzz’s
    Getting enough sleep is important to maintain your health, manage stress, and stay healthy during the holidays. If you are sleep deprived, it is harder to maintain a healthy blood sugar, and being tired can add stress, make you more susceptible to illness, and make you overeat.


    If you want more information, or help developing a structured eating and meal planning regimen, OSU Extension has an interactive online program called Dining with Diabetes: Beyond the Kitchen, that teaches you how to manage your diabetes at home, while grocery shopping, planning weekly meals or eating at restaurants. This program would also be very helpful if a member of your family is diabetic, and you need help planning and preparing meals. For a simple way to think about eating and meal planning, the Eating Healthier with Diabetes placemat is a simple way to see what (and how much) you should be eating.

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

  4. Skid Loader Operator Safety

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

    Skid loaders are an ever-increasing popular piece of equipment used by farmers, agri-businesses, landscape companies and the construction industry. It is estimated that over 30,000 skid loaders are purchased from equipment manufactures annually in the United States. They are compact, powerful, and versatile machines that can fit into small spaces, and turn within a very tight radius. Primary functions of a skid loader include pushing, scraping, scooping, lifting, and dumping materials.  What makes this machine so versatile is a variety of attachments that can make efficient work when completing a variety of tasks.  Skid loaders can be easy to operate; however the operator must know the machine’s capabilities, as well as its limitations. When looking at skid loader operator safety, four critical areas need to be considered:

    Machine Maintenance
    - Stay clear of moving parts.
    - Inspect the machine each day before use.
    - Ensure shields and guards are in place.
    - Repair leaking fittings or damaged hydraulic hoses.
    Mounting and Dismounting
    - Face the machine and maintain 3 points of contact.
    - Keep steps clean from mud, oil, or debris.
    - Always enter with the loader arms down.
    - Never use the controls as handholds.
    - Avoid jumping off when exiting.
    Safe Operation
    - Understand the controls and the safety equipment of the machine.
    - Keep riders off of the machine.
    - Be aware of potential site hazards.
    - Be aware of bystanders or coworkers.
    - Before backing, ensure that there is a clear travel path.
    - Understand how attachments change the operation and handling of the machine.
    - Lower all attachments to the ground before shut down.
    Stability Considerations
    - Travel with the heavy end uphill.
    - Use caution on slopes and avoid abrupt turns at high speeds.
    - Evenly distribute materials to stabilize the load.
    - Avoid overloading; check the owner’s manual for the load capacity.
    - Keep loads close to the ground to aid with visibility and lower the machine’s center of gravity.
    - Loader attachments can alter the machine’s center of gravity.


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

  5. Conditions In The Bin – Safety While Checking Your Grain

    Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

    As the combine is tucked back in the machinery shed and harvest is complete, taking safety precautions should not fall by the wayside when checks on the condition in bin become a part of the routine. Some of the biggest safety concerns present in grain farming are located at the bin. Slip, trip, and fall hazards are prevalent. Engulfment can happen in seconds. Combustible or toxic environments can be hidden to the naked eye. Entanglement and amputations can happen at the storage facility even after harvest season has been completed.

    Follow these safety tips when working in and around grain storage bins:

    • Frequently check ladders and stairways attached to the bin for needed repairs.
    • Make sure guards are in place on all equipment.
    • Turn off and lock out all equipment.
    • Ensure no grain is being moved into or out of the bin.
    • Test the air within a bin prior to entering.
    • Use a N-95 mask when working in a bin with grain.
    • Wear a body harness with a lifeline when entering a bin.
    • Utilize a farm employee or family member to act as an observer outside the bin when entering.
    • Do not walk down grain to make it flow.
    • Never enter a bin if there is the potential for bridged grain.
    • Account for any items you take into a bin and ensure return to the outside so bin equipment does not later become clogged.

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