Ag Safety STAT: December 2019

Ag Safety S.T.A.T. – Safe Tactics for Ag Today is an electronic newsletter prepared by 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

  1. Thoughtful Gifts for the Season

    Dee Jepsen – Agricultural State Safety and Health Leader

    Safety is important year-round – giving gifts of safety is a thoughtful idea to show you care. Here are a few safety and health gift ideas to show your family, friends and employees how much you value them.

    Stocking stuffers include new work gloves, ear plugs or muffs, flashlights and smoke detectors with new batteries.

    Another popular gift is a fire extinguisher - there are many sizes available to suit the needs for the home, garage, RV, or farm implement. For the vehicles, consider a small first aid kit, emergency kit, or long handled snow brush.

    Don’t forget the helmets! With so many activities requiring helmets, it’s good to replace older style helmets. Motorized helmets (for motorcycles, dirt bikes and ATVs) should be replaced every 3-5 years, unless they have been involved in a crash or had a significant impact from being dropped or rolled off of a moving vehicle, in which case they should be replaced immediately. Welding helmets and gloves make great additions to the farm shop. Then there are helmets for the equestrians and bicyclists – many times the straps on older helmets become frayed and loosened – and are recommended to be replaced once they are stretched and worn out. Helmets come in a variety of styles and sizes – it is not possible for everyone to share a helmet. Be sure head gear is fitted properly for the best protection.

    On the farm, other great gifts include a fall protection harness when climbing grain bins or working from heights greater than 6 feet. Retrofitting a tractor with a Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS) is an affordable option for keeping an older model tractor operational and safe for the operator – check with a local dealer for a retrofit suitable to your model.

    Prepare for safety and have a happy holiday season!

    For more information about the OSU Agricultural Safety and Health Program visit for contact Dee Jepsen at or 614-292-6008.

  2. The Silent Killer, Carbon Monoxide

    Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

    Ohio temperatures have dipped into winter and climbed right back out into early spring over these last few weeks, but temps are forecasted to flatten out on the colder side throughout the next month and the heat is likely to stay on. With heating season comes the threat of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. It is key to remember you can’t smell, taste, or see carbon monoxide! To be alerted of CO, install a battery-operated CO detector and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state, “Although CO poisoning can be prevented, each year, approximately 438 people in the U.S. die as a result of unintentional, non-fire related exposure to this toxic gas.” The following infographic released for a government health campaign in Canada, highlights some important items to remember about carbon monoxide:

    For additional information about Nonvented Portable Heaters, often used on the farm or in shop areas, find our factsheet at

    Please visit for information about the OSU Agricultural Safety and Health Program or contact Lisa Pfeifer at or 614-292-9455.


  3. Dressing for Cold Weather

    Kent McGuire – CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator

    It’s that time of year…Winter! Long exposure to cold, wet, and windy conditions can be dangerous even at temperatures above freezing. For outdoor workers it may be tempting to “tough it out” or “work through it”.  Prolonged exposure to winter conditions can be dangerous and precautions should be taken to minimize the risk injuries like frostbite or hypothermia. 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 from the National Weather Service for working in cold environments:

    For more information visit or contact Kent McGuire, CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator, at or 614-292-0588.


  4. Ohio AgrAbility in Action: Fitness for Farm Life – One stretch, 3 ways

    Laura Akgerman, Disability Services Coordinator, Ohio AgrAbility Project

    Farmers spend hours every day sitting, standing, carrying, lifting, pushing and pulling. Add in cold weather and it is natural to hunch your shoulders and back, just trying to stay warm, and a stiff back and upper arms can be the result. Try this stretch when you are sitting or standing – you can even use a wall, pole or fencepost to give your back a good stretch.

    Upper Back/Triceps Stretch (back of upper arm)

      • To do this exercise using a wall:
      • Start in an upright standing position
      • Place elbows on the wall at face height
      • Take one step back
      • Bending at the waist, fold forward with back straight until forehead touches the wall
      • Hold for 15-30 seconds
      • To do this exercise using a chair
      • Start in an upright standing position
      • Place elbows or hands (arms straight) on chair
      • Take one step back
      • Bending at the waist, fold forward with back straight until you feel slight tension in the upper backs and/or triceps
      • Hold for 15-30 seconds
      • To do this exercise using a pole/fencepost:
      • Start in an upright standing position
      • Place hands (arms straight) on top or around pole
      • Take one step back
      • Bending at the waist, fold forward with back straight until you feel slight tension in the upper backs and/or triceps
      • Hold for 15-30 seconds

    Repeat these stretches throughout the day to keep your back and upper arms from getting stiff and sore.

    Please do not do these stretches while you are driving or operating machinery.

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