Ag Safety STAT: February 2016

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. February 21-27 is Grain Bin Safety Week

    Nationwide insurance is collaborating with industry leaders and agricultural professionals to launch its third annual safety contest as part of this year’s Grain Bin Safety Week, which runs Feb 21-27.  

    The Nominate Your Fire Department Contest runs from Jan. 1 through May 31. It will award grain rescue tubes and hands-on training to help first responders save lives, thanks to the support of KC Supply Co., the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety and Nationwide’s other partners.

    “Grain bin accidents can tragically impact individuals, families and entire communities,” said Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness. “Accident prevention means everyone working together, and Grain Bin Safety Week provides a forum for the agricultural community to help keep people safe.”  

    During the last two years, the national contest awarded tubes and training to 13 fire departments in 12 states. One of those winners — The Westphalia Fire Department in Kansas — used their new skills in 2015 to rescue a man who became entrapped in some grain.

    In 2014, 38 documented entrapments resulted in 17 deaths, according to Purdue University. It was the highest numbers since 2010 — when at least 26 U.S. workers were killed in grain engulfments.

    “That’s where Grain Bin Safety Week can help,” Liggett said. “This program brings attention to life-saving extraction methods and procedures, which can improve responder and victim safety.”

    For more information about the program, purpose or nomination process, visit

  2. A Survey for Ohio Farmers with On-Farm Grain Storage Facilities

    Ohio farmers are being asked to complete a survey about their current grain handling and storage systems. This information will be used to develop future training programs specific for Ohio grain facilities. The research project is being conducted by a graduate student in the OSU Ag Safety and Health program, under the direction of Dee Jepsen. The project was funded by the Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC). The aim of this research will help identify safety and health practices used on Ohio farms to help solve (or at least reduce) the hazards when working around grain storage facilities. 
    The survey does not collect personal information that could be traced back to the producer, making the responses anonymous. All farmers who own, manage, or use on-farm grain bin structures are eligible to complete the survey.
    Click on this link to review and participate in the survey. If there are questions about this survey, please contact Dee Jepsen ( 
    Follow this link to the Survey:

    Take the Survey

    Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:

  3. Sun Safe Hats Available for Sale

    The OSU Agricultural Safety and Health Program has sun safe hats for sale. These sun safe hats are great for Master Gardeners, field researchers, golf enthusiasts, local farmers, OSU alumni, etc. The wide-brimmed hats are Columbia brand and are a lightweight, quick drying, khaki colored fabric. The hats are collegiate licensed with a red block O embroidered on the front.

    If you are interested in purchasing sun safe hats, please contact the Agricultural Safety and Health program to order. The cost of each hat is $40. Contact Cora Carter with any questions at or 614-292-0622.

  4. February is Heart Disease Awareness Month

    Andy Bauer—Ohio AgrAbility Program Educational Coordinator

    February is American Heart Disease Awareness month and also a time for cold weather and snow. During cold weather, work must be done around the farm, such as feeding livestock, breaking ice in the water trough, cutting wood, or loading stored grain. It is also a time for getting equipment ready for spring tillage and planting the new crop. Farming is a stressful occupation, with farmers experiencing stresses associated with most occupations such as high demand, time pressures, and increased workload. However, farmers have added pressures associated with agriculture, such as uncontrollable weather, machinery breakdowns, variable crop prices, or even economic survival. Farming consistently has one of the highest rates of death due to stress-related conditions like hypertension and heart or artery disease.

    Managing stress is an important part of preventing heart disease. Stress makes the heart beat faster to get ready for action. People who are stressed all the time secrete a hormone that that raises blood pressure causing the body to retain more fluids placing excessive stress on the heart.

    ·      Weather is one of the uncontrollable stress factors for farmers, dress in layers and take breaks to warm up when working outside or in unheated buildings. You cannot control the weather but you can control how you prepare for it.

    ·      Marketing grain is another area of uncontrollable stress for the farmer. Know your input costs, planting costs, and harvesting costs and control what you can. Knowing these costs will help to make marketing a little easier in knowing what your break-even point is and at what level to market your crop. 

    ·      Doing winter maintenance on equipment is also important to reduce breakdowns and stress in the spring. Don’t overwork yourself in the cold weather.

    Winter is also the time for farmer meetings. I often ask, “What is your most valuable piece of equipment?” Nine times out of ten the answer is the combine, planter or big tractor, all of which are high dollar items. But, the most valuable piece of equipment on the farm is you and the biggest maintenance item you need to take care of is yourself. Get into your Doctor and get a check-up. Get the condition of your heart and body checked and make sure YOU are ready for spring. After all you are your most important and valuable piece of equipment. If you go down due to health issues, the work will not get done on a timely basis.

    For more information contact Ohio AgrAbility at or Andy Bauer at or (614) 247-7681.


  5. Preventing Sprain/Strain Injuries

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

    The physical demands of spring work will soon be here.  Due to the physical nature of agricultural tasks, there can be a tremendous amount of wear and tear on the body. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sprain/strain injuries account for over 38 percent of all workplace injuries requiring days away from work. Sprain/Strain injuries are common during physically demanding tasks because your joints and muscles take the majority of the punishment. It is important to understand the difference between these injuries and consider how to prevent these injuries from occurring or even re-occurring over time.

    Sprain: A sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament (a band of connective tissues that joins the end of one bone with another). Sprain injuries can be caused by a trauma such as a fall, blow to the body that knocks a joint out of position, rupturing supporting ligaments, or a joint that is forcefully moved out of its typical range of motion. Locations at highest risk of a joint injury include; back, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles.

    Strain: A strain is a twist, pull, or tear of a muscle or tendon. It is a noncontact injury that results from overstretching or over-contraction. Symptoms of a strain include:  muscle pain, muscle spasm and loss of function. Locations at highest risk of a strain injury include; calf muscle, hamstrings, muscles in the lower back and shoulders.

    Some guidelines to reduce the risk of sprain/strain injuries include:

    - Use proper lifting techniques when lifting.

    - Avoid reaching, twisting or bending continuously when completing a task.

    - Push items, rather than pull them.

    - Reduce or remove any slip or trip hazards in the workspace.

    - Use extra caution when walking across uneven or unstable surfaces.

    - Minimize repetitive movements during daily tasks.

    - Alternate work tasks to increase a variety of physical movements.

    - Utilize stools and anti-fatigue matting at workstations for tasks with prolonged standing.

    - When stepping off ladders or equipment, always look where you are placing your feet.

    - Use material handling devices, power tools, or efficient work methods to minimize overexertion to joints and muscles.

    - Use ergonomically designed tools and equipment.

    - Allow your body to rest and recuperate, especially when completing physical tasks that are not a part of the normal workday.

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

  6. Is your Emergency Action Plan up to Date?

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

    As we continue to plan for busy spring season, it is a great time to establish or review Emergency Action Plans. Whether it’s a structure fire, traumatic farm injury, or natural disaster being prepared can help reduce the potential for loss of life or property.

    Emergency planning should include:

    - A list of emergency numbers that may be needed.

    - Evacuation and shelter in place procedures.

    - Procedures to shut down specific processes or equipment.

    - Identifying access points to the farmstead and to specific barns, buildings and structures.

    - Location of electrical disconnects, water or gas shut – offs, and fuel storage areas.

    - Specifying locations of livestock facilities and relocation areas should they need to be moved.

    - Identifying confined space areas such as grain bins, silos or manure pits and hazards associated with each one.

    - Listing areas where chemicals, pesticides, paints, compressed gas cylinders or flammables are stored.

    - Locating access points to water sources such as ponds, rivers or streams, in the event of a large structure fire.

    - Determine the use any specialty equipment needed to access remote locations on the farm. Example: Tractor, 4x4 truck, ATV / UTV, or boat.

    - Consider how emergency response could be affected by seasonal changes. (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter)

    It is a good idea to involve your local fire department and emergency medical services provider. Ask if the local fire department could visit your facility to get familiar with the overall layout and general operation. This will give them the opportunity to identify any potential hazards or tactical approaches during emergency response and provide feedback on emergency planning.

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

  7. Spot the Safety Violation

    Can you spot the Safety Violations in this photo? 

    Click here to see the answers.