Ag Safety STAT: February / March 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. Grain C.A.R.T. Programming for 2017

    Remaining availability:
    - Saturday, September 9
    - The weekend of September 29, 30 & October 1
    - Week of October 16-21
    - And, an assortment of weekdays sprinkled throughout the summer.
    Schedule professional training to first responders and/or deliver grain safety awareness curriculum for outreach education to farmers and agricultural industries for your area in 2017. Contact Lisa Pfeifer at (614) 292-9455 or
  2. Ag Safety and Health Video Resources has agricultural safety and health videos available on their website that can be very useful for agricultural producers, agricultural educators, agricultural safety and health professionals, and Cooperative Extension personnel. The videos can be used for training or to help provide awareness about the hazards that can exist in the agricultural workplace. Topics areas include Animal Safety, Chemical Safety, Confined Spaces, Crop Safety, Emergency Response, Machinery and Equipment Safety, Occupational Safety, Safety for Special Populations and Traumatic Injury. To
 yourself with the available video resources, visit:

  3. Heart Health

    Laura Akgerman Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility

    Did you know that your risk for a heart attack increases in the winter?  “Cold weather sometimes creates a perfect storm of risk factors for cardiovascular problems,” says Dr. Randall Zusman, Massachusetts General Hospital. Cold weather can cause a decrease in the oxygen rich blood your heart needs. Cold weather conditions can make your heart work harder, then your heart needs more oxygen rich blood, which is already in short supply and this can lead to a heart attack. (Zusman, Harvard Health Publications, 2016).

    Taking precautions and staying healthy over the winter can reduce your risk of a winter-induced heart attack. Eating healthy, limiting your alcohol intake, taking all prescribed medications and exercising regularly are all key factors to maintain good health. Not sure how much you need to exercise? 150 minutes a week of moderate to intensive cardio exercise, and two days a week of strengthening/weight training exercise is the current recommendation from Center for Disease Control. If you can’t go outside and exercise, climb the stairs inside your house, walk or jog in place, dance, do something that gets your heart beating faster. Before you begin a new exercise routine, please check with your doctor to ensure your don’t over exert yourself.

    Common heart attack risk factors and how to avoid them:

    Overexertion – walking against the wind and through deep snow, shoveling snow, pushing a car out of the snow, feeding and watering your animals are all winter activities that cannot be avoided. To reduce your risk of heart attack or other injury consider how you could change the way you work outside.

    Use snow removal equipment instead of shoveling snow. If you have to shovel, take it easy! Shovel smaller amounts of snow, take frequent breaks, drink fluids to stay hydrated, and only shovel what you must.

    Cold exposure - When you are suddenly exposed to cold temperatures your blood vessels can constrict and reduce blood flow.  Put your coat, hat, gloves and scarf on before you walk outside. (Zusman, 2016)

    Overheating -  Wear layers – if you get too hot your blood vessels can dilate, which can dramatically reduce blood pressure. Remove layers gradually when working outside, or go inside to take a break and cool down.

    Influenza – The flu can lead to a heart attack in people with heart disease – the combination of fever and dehydration can affect the level of oxygen in your blood, which can lead to a heart attack.

    Missing medications – Missing a dose of medicine can have serious consequences. Be sure you have all of your prescription medications, do not wait until the last minute to refill a medication, you may be unable to get to the pharmacy if the weather gets bad.

    Stress – Stress impacts your physical and mental health. Manage stress with regular exercise, healthy eating, spending time with friends and family, and getting help for physical and mental health issues.

    Heart attack signs and symptoms in men and women

    Chest discomfort or pain – tight ache, squeezing, pressure or fullness that lasts more than a few minutes, this pain may come and go.

    Upper body pain – pain that spreads beyond your chest to shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw. You could have this pain without chest pain.

    Stomach pain, nausea and/or vomiting  - pain or heartburn in your abdominal area, nausea and/or vomiting.

    Shortness of breath – you may feel like you need to pant or to take deep breaths, this can occur before chest discomfort, or without chest discomfort.

    Anxiety – you may feel as if you are having a panic attack, or feel a deep sense of gloom for no apparent reason.

    Lightheadedness – dizziness, or feeling like you are going to faint.

    Sweating – cold, clammy sweat when you have not exerted yourself.

    (Mayo Clinic, 2017)

    Do heart attacks look different in women?

    Yes. The Cleveland Clinic lists three subtle heart attack symptoms women are more likely to experience than men:

    Unusual fatigue –“heavy” chest or fatigue when you have not exerted yourself. Simple activities make you excessively tired. Difficulty sleeping (even when you are exhausted). If you are suddenly worn out after your typical workout routine.

    Sweating or shortness of breath - sudden sweating or shortness of breath without exertion, breathlessness that continues to worsen over time after exertion. Shortness of breath that worsens when lying down, and improves when upright. Sweating or shortness of breath with chest pain or fatigue. “Stress” sweat (cold & clammy) when there is no stressor.

    Neck, jaw or back pain – pain in either arm, not just the left arm. Pain in the chest that spreads to the lower or upper back. Sudden pain, not due to exertion, that can wake you at night. Pain that is specific to the left, lower jaw.

    Women may notice these symptoms in the weeks or month before a heart attack. If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor. Write a list of your symptoms and when they occur, tell your doctor about any family history of heart disease, and tell your doctor about any stressors you are experiencing.

    If you have chest pain or discomfort and any of the symptoms listed above (especially if they last longer than five minutes) get help right away. Call 911, or have someone drive you to the doctor or nearest health care facility or hospital.

    More information about heart attacks and heart health can be found at:


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

  4. Protecting Your Hands this Spring

    Kent McGuire – OSU CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator

    As we prepare equipment for planting season, start to apply anhydrous ammonia, and eventually begin work in the field, take a moment to consider the importance of protecting your hands.  When it comes to hand protection, hazards can vary drastically by work task. These hazards can include chemical burns, electrical dangers, abrasions, cuts, impact with objects and exposure the extreme temperatures. Therefore, picking the right hand protection is extremely important. There are a variety of things to consider when choosing appropriate hand protection. This includes working with sharp metal parts, chemicals, extreme thermal conditions and the need for dexterity for job tasks. During the selection process there are a few questions that can be used to identify the proper glove selection. These questions can be based on the potential hazard.

    - Are chemical hazards present?
    -What form is the chemical in: liquid, gas, powder, or vapor form?
    -Are the hands subject to light splashes or immersion into chemicals?
    Check the label of the chemicals being worked with. A warning or recommendation of all personal protective equipment should be located on the label.
    Cuts / Punctures / Abrasions
    - Is there the potential for cuts and punctures from sharp objects? 
    - Will abrasions or punctures likely occur to the palm, top of the hand, or fingers?
    Many gloves are designed to protect from abrasions and even offer some protection from slashes caused by sharp objects. Few provide high levels of puncture resistance.
    Grip or dexterity
    - Is a secure grip vital to the application?
    - Are wet or oily material surfaces present?
    - Is dexterity important?  Is sensitivity to handle small parts or objects quickly needed?
    - Which characteristic is more important: protection or dexterity?
    In most cases, thinner-gauge gloves offer more dexterity, while heavier-gauge gloves offer greater hand protection. Special coatings on gloves can provide the desired dexterity and a certain level of protection.
    Extreme Heat or Cold
    -Will the gloves be required to offer protection from heat or cold temperatures?
    - What is the length of exposure time to these temperatures?
    Insulated gloves should be selected to protect from extreme temperatures. For some tasks, such as welding or torch work, specialty gloves designed for that task should be used.
    Size of Gloves
    - Are the gloves properly sized for the user?
    Too large of gloves will slide around on the hands, provide minimal protection and could become caught in machinery or moving parts. Gloves that are too small can decrease dexterity and become uncomfortable.
    For more information about the OSU Ag Safety visit or contact Kent McGuire, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at or 614-292-0588.


  5. Get Ready, Here They Come – Wobbly Legs and All

    Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

    Winter 2017 in Ohio has been anything but predictable. Rolling on through late winter and early spring here, will likely present farmers with a rollercoaster of environmental conditions to face while managing animal herds during spring birthing. As we move between freezing and thawing the farm yard changes conditions from frozen to muddy, leaving terrain challenging to navigate for both farmer and animal.

    We all know safety is something that frequently gets pushed to the background as responsibilities pick up pace around the farm. Analyzing supply inventories, past experiences, and personal practices and habits at the front end of this season is a good start for making some simple preparations that might ultimately reduce health, safety, and financial risks.

    We can start by thinking about the things you will need and where you can find them when calving, foaling, lambing all get into full swing. Where are the obstetrical chains? When did you last use the tag gun? Did you sanitize the bottles and nipples following that late herd birth that happened post-birthing season? A laundry list of supplies that can come in handy follows, so scan it and make a mental note of the state of your own preparedness around the farm for when those four-legged little ones begin to hit the ground.

    What kind of shape are you in when it comes to the supplies around your farm? Do you have these items and are they centrally located to where you are most likely to use/need them?

    • obstetrical chains
    • sleeves
    • lubricant
    • bucket
    • soap
    • iodine solution
    • colostrum/milk replacer
    • bottle and nipple
    • halter
    • medications/vaccinations
    • thermometer
    • pocket record book
    • blanket
    • animal identification supplies -tattoo kit/tag gun/branding iron/paint branding numbers
    • animal husbandry procedures – docking or castration supplies

    After thinking about supplies, reflect on some of those surprise animal reactions or behaviors during birthing that have caught you off guard in the past. Animals are unpredictable and when you throw a newborn into the mix often times agitation sets in quickly. Farmers tend to work alone and can get into dangerous situations quickly. Processing those memorable behaviors from the past will help you stay alert to the dangers in the season ahead. Always plan for the unexpected. Plan an escape route when you need to be in an enclosed area with any of your animals. Try to always keep a cell phone on your belt or in you pocket when you will be working with animals alone, it will facilitate getting help should you need it.

    Those ever changing lovely weather conditions of Ohio can also present a host of safety challenges. Winter can make for slow movement due to bulky clothing, cold induced arthritis, or slippery walking surfaces, all slowing reaction times when working with animals. The spring like weather we have been having can also lead to slippery surfaces because of mud, so there is a lot to be aware of under foot. Those same environmental factors present risks to newborns of getting stuck or not surviving if they are dropped in the soup. Providing a safe dry environment for animals during the birthing process can help their health, the health of the newborn, and ultimately your overall bottom line financially.

    Stay safe out there and enjoy one of the most hopeful times of the farming year!

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

  6. Severe Weather Awareness Week: March 19 - 25

    Dee Jepsen – OSU Ag State Safety Leader

    Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 19 – 25, 2017. You can find great information and educational materials from the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness at this link:

    Being prepared is something for every individual and every community to practice, especially when spring weather patterns have potential to catch us off-guard.