Ag Safety STAT: January 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. *Limited Dates Remain* -- Grain C.A.R.T. Programming for 2017

    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 two fold. 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 2017. The Grain C.A.R.T. is off the road for the winter months, but 2017 travel is being booked now to kick off in March. Please contact Lisa Pfeifer at (614) 292-9455 or, if you would like to discuss program planning with the Grain C.A.R.T. in your geographic area. A few weekend dates remain open for late May to early June or late September, with more available weekday options sprinkled throughout the farming season.

  2. Add Safety To Your Winter Meetings and Workers’ Compensation Programs

    Please consider the Ag Safety Office when developing your winter and early spring producer meetings or Workers Compensation group-rating programs. Our staff will work with you to design a program specifically for your audience group, or feel free to select a topic from those suggested below. 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 2017.

    Suggested Program Topics – Contact Kent McGuire at  or Dee Jepsen at

    • Tractor and Equipment Safety
    • OSHA and Ag
    • Hiring Young Workers: Matching Workers to their Age and Stage of Development, and Employment Laws for Hiring Farm Kids
    • Noise on the Farm
    • Grain Handling and Bin Safety
    • First Aid on the Farm
    • Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls on the Farm
    • Managing Safety with Agricultural Employees
    • ATVs and UTVs – Training programs for all ages
    • Sun Safety and Skin Cancer Prevention
    • Emergency Plans for the Farm and Agritainment Business
    • Grain C.A.R.T. – Comprehensive Ag Rescue Trailer

    Ohio AgrAbility Program Topics – Contact Lisa Pfeifer at

    • Aging Productively on the Farm or in the Garden
    • AgrAbility & Universal Design on the Farm
    • Assistive Technology for the Farm
  3. Emergency

    The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has an Animal Response Plan Development Tool Kit available on their website to help communities prepare for the safety and welfare of all types of animals in the event of an emergency or disaster. Each county EMA office is the lead agency for the development and implementation of their county’s Animal
 included in the plan 
 many support

 tool, visit: Reach out to your county EMA
 office to
 your county specific plan.

  4. Managing Your Aches and Pains in the Winter

    Laura Akgerman Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility

    Anyone with aches & pains knows that cold weather makes everything hurt a little more, and makes it harder to work and get everything done. According to Professor Robert H Shmerling, MD, at the Harvard Medical School, weather may or may not have an impact on your arthritis pain, but there may be “a connection between weather and joint symptoms… researchers have been unable to figure out just what matters most about the weather and arthritis symptoms or why there should be a connection”.  While you cannot control the weather, you can control how to react to it, and how to manage your health, wellness and productivity.

    If you will be working outside in cold weather:

    • Wear layers of clothing, keep an extra pair of gloves with you (in case one pair gets wet)
    • Wear a hat that covers your head and ears, and use the hood on your coat or sweatshirt to keep out drafts
    • Take short, frequent breaks to warm up, and don’t overexert – yourself, energy is required to keep muscles warm
    • If you are working in remote areas, try to work with someone else, and carry your cell phone in case you need to call for help

    The Arthritis Foundation of Washington reports “a lack of physical activity will cause joints to become stiff. Exercise eases arthritis pain. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue”.

    Stay active and healthy over the winter:

    • Include stretching, strengthening and endurance activities in your daily routine
    • Plan your day to alternate between difficult and easier tasks, do the most strenuous tasks early, when you have the most energy
    •  Sit when possible to minimize stress on your joints
    •  Be mindful of proper techniques for lifting, carrying, bending and reaching overhead
    • Use labor saving devices when possible
    • Transport items by cart rather than carrying them

    For more information about Ohio AgrAbility visit or contact Laura Akgerman, Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility & OSU Extension, 614-247-7681.


  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 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 slip / fall injuries because an individual slides abruptly causing a loss of balance and impacting the surface below. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, there were 34,860 workplace slip-and-fall injuries 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, please contact Kent McGuire, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at or 614-292-0588.


  6. The Silent Killer – Carbon Monoxide

    Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

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

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

    Helpful resources with more in-depth information can be found at:

    The Ohio Committee For Severe Weather Awareness website,

    The Ohio Department of Commerce website,

    The American Red Cross website,

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

  7. Winter Travel Safety

    Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

    When the weather outside is frightful, the roadways and travel may not always be so delightful. Remember to plan accordingly as you set out in inclement weather. Safety steps take a little extra time, but they may ultimately help protect you and your loved ones in foul weather.

    Winterize Vehicles

    • Fill antifreeze and windshield washer reservoirs
    • Check tire inflation levels and tread depth
    • Ensure you set out with a full fuel tank
    • Inspect battery condition and charge level at the beginning of the winter season

    Check and Restock Emergency Items

    • Investigate the condition of the spare tire
    • Pack ice scrapers, a flashlight, booster cables, and a phone charger
    • Keep a blanket in your car during the winter months
    • Locate maps you will need for your trip

    Be Responsible

    • Plan your travel and inform others of your planned arrival and departure times
    • Stow you cell phone while driving
    • Pull over if you need to check directions or use your phone
    • Bring some cash with you
    • Assign a designated driver before setting out if anyone will be drinking

    For great winter weather resources drop by the official website of the Department of Homeland Security at

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