Ag Safety STAT: December 2018

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. Grain C.A.R.T. Scheduling

    Agricultural rescue training and education are an integral part to protecting our work force of families tied to agriculture in Ohio. The Grain C.A.R.T. (Comprehensive Agricultural Rescue Trailer) was designed and built to do that twofold. Opportunities exist to offer professional training to first responders and/or deliver grain safety awareness curriculum for outreach education to farmers and agricultural industries by scheduling the Grain C.A.R.T. for your area in 2019. Programming is being booked now to kick off in March. Please call or email Lisa Pfeifer at (614) 292-9455,, if you would like to discuss program planning centered around the Grain C.A.R.T. for your geographic area.

  2. Safety and Health Topics for your Winter Programs

    Please consider safety for your late winter and early spring producer meetings – or county Farm Bureau sponsored Workers Compensation group rating programs – our staff will work with you to design a safety program specifically for your audience. Feel free to choose a topic of your own, or choose from one of the topics listed below. The average session is 45-60 minutes, but can be adjusted or combined with other topics to fit your needs. Trainees will develop a safety mindset and learn about workplace hazards. Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S. affecting a wide range of audiences. The diversity of the workers is reflective in the culture of farming, where there is a range of workforce age, competency level and certain regulation practices. We look forward to scheduling in your area for 2019.

    Suggested Safety and Health Topics
    Tractor and Equipment Safety
    OSHA and AG
    Noise on the Farm
    Respiratory Hazards on the Farm
    Grain Facility Safety and Health
    First Aid on the Farm
    Sun Safety and Skin Cancer Prevention
    Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls on the Farm
    Emergency Plans for the Farm and Agritourism Operation
    ATVs and UTVs – training program for all ages and skill level
    Electrical Safety for Farm Buildings and Equipment
    Managing Safety with your Agricultural Employees
    Grain C.A.R.T. – the Comprehensive Ag Rescue Trailer
    Women in Ag – Tractor and Machinery Operation Programs – a hands on workshop
    Contact Dee Jepsen at
    Ohio AgrAbility Program Topics
    Farming with a Disability
    Arthritis in Ag
    Collaborating with Ohio AgrAbility
    Gardening & Urban Ag
    Preventing Injuries on the Farm
    Designing Accessible AgriTourism
    Contact Laura Akgerman at akgerman.4@osu.ed or Lisa Pfeifer at
  3. National Fire Protection Association

    Put A Freeze on Winter Fires – The NFPA’s campaign to address seasonal fires with educational resources can be found at


  4. Ohio AgrAbility in Action: These are a few of our Farmers favorite things

    Laura Akgerman – Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility

    If you are trying to decide what gift to give (or ask for) this holiday season, consider this list of a few of our farmers favorite things. While our Ohio AgrAbility farmers often have specialized or adapted Assistive Technology, they also use tools and equipment that are designed for ease of use for people of all abilities.

    LED lights

    LED headlamps are very popular with our farmers and AgrAbility staff (I have one at home that we use for walking the dog in the dark). The light is very bright, and useful for lighting up a dark walk between the house and barn, or to direct the light at what you are working on, eliminating the need to hold a flashlight.

    Hands free task lighting allows you to light up your work space and keep your hands free for work. This light has a magnet, clip and hook, making it adaptable to almost any type of work environment.

    Seat cushions and Air Suspension seats

    If you have back, hip, or shoulder pain, or just spend long days on the tractor, a seat cushion or upgraded seat can help to limit the bumps and jolts you experience while driving your tractor across the field. The Airhawk Plus Seat Cushion is a cost-effective way to upgrade your tractor seat (and you can use the cushion on any of your vehicles). To make a permanent upgrade to your tractor, an air suspension seat will reduce vibration and increase your comfort – it’s hard to work long days with back pain.

    Camera systems on tractors or trucks

    Camera systems can increase safety, reduce the need to turn your head and look over your shoulder, or to climb in and out of your tractor to hitch equipment. You can choose from one, two or three cameras, and a variety of monitor options. For more information about the benefits of a camera system, read the Ohio AgrAbility in Action article in the February 2018 Ag STAT.

    Automatic gate openers

    An automatic gate opener will safely open the gate when you drive your vehicle slowly up to the gate, bump the gate, and drive through. The the gate will close and latch behind you, and it does not set the livestock free. The Bump n’ Drive manufacturer site states “even smart livestock do not understand the concept of following through”.  The Mighty Mule is solar powered and comes with a remote control in case you don’t want to bump the gate with your vehicle.

    Lift table cart

    If you have to move heavy objects around your garage or workshop, or lift heavy items, think about getting a lift table cart and save your back and shoulders. One of our Ohio AgrAbility farmers said if his lift table cart ever broke, he would replace it immediately, as it increases his independence, productivity, and reduces his pain after a long day of work. For more information about lift table carts, read the Ohio AgrAbility in Action article in the March 2018 Ag STAT.

    Several products are discussed in this article, Ohio AgrAbility does not receive any benefit from the vendors whose products are featured, these products are listed as examples, not endorsements.

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


  5. Preventing Slips and Falls during Icy Conditions

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Program Coordinator

    When the temperature drops, ice can become a severe problem when working outdoors.  On the farm, water troughs ice over, barn doors freeze shut, and ice glazes over travel paths or equipment stored outside.  Icy conditions can cause severe injuries because a slip or slide abruptly causes a loss of balance, which results in a fall, impacting the surface below.  The most common severe injuries occur to the hips, back or head.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, there were 42,480 workplace slip-and-fall injuries in the workplace, involving ice, sleet or snow that required at least one day away from work to recuperate. This does not include thousands more winter slip-and-fall related injuries that were minor and did not result in lost work time. Here are some simple guidelines to reduce the risk of a slip / fall injury from icy conditions:

    • Use the proper footwear that can provide some slip resistance and traction.

    • Take short steps or shuffle, and try to ensure your torso stays balanced over your feet.

    • Keep your hands out of your pockets. You can help break your fall with your hands free if you do start to slip and by placing your arms out to your side can help to maintain your balance.

    • Utilize handrails and grab bars, or follow a fence line in an effort to maintain your stability by holding on to a solid object.

    • If applying salt to travel paths is not an option, apply sand, gravel, kitty liter, floor dry or some abrasive substance to provide a texture for traction.

    • Use grassy areas as a secondary travel path.  This will provide a course texture to increase traction while walking.

    • Take extra precaution around livestock watering areas. Ice can form in theses areas by water being splashed or dripped around the perimeter of the tank.

    • Minimize distractions to remain alert to icy hazards and avoid carrying bulky items that block your view

    • When transitioning from the bright outdoor environment to indoor areas, stop briefly to allow your vision to catch up with the change in lighting, in order to recognize hazards ahead.

    • Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles or equipment; use the vehicle for support.

    • Use 3 points of contact when mounting or dismounting large equipment (1 hand / 2 feet) or (2 hands / 1 foot). Ensure there is solid footing on the ground before final dismounting.

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

  6. Carbon Monoxide, Silent but Deadly

    Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

    Winter is a time when fuel-burning devices are at peak utilization, along with that come the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. The Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of State Fire Marshal, warns of following devices that may produce dangerous levels of CO gas:

    • Fuel fired furnaces (non-electric)
    • Gas water heaters
    • Generators
    • Fireplaces and wood stoves
    • Gas stoves
    • Non-electric space heaters
    • Gas dryers
    • Charcoal grills
    • Lawnmowers, snow blowers, etc.
    • Automobiles

    Carbon monoxide cannot be detected without a carbon monoxide detector/alarm. It can present like any other illness. Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 or consult a health care professional.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns, “Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.”

    What can you do to prevent CO poisoning? The CDC and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have extensive lists of guidance to follow to keep you and your loved ones safe. See the key points below:

    • Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home in addition to alarming. Replace your CO detector every five years.
    • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
    • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
    • If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it.
    • When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.
    • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly.
    • Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year.
    • Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else.
    • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
    • Never use a gas range or oven for heating.
    • Never burn charcoal indoors.
    • Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors.
    • Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage. Only use outdoors more than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
    • When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home.

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