Ag Safety STAT : July 2015

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.


In This Issue:
  1. Resources for Managing Agricultural Employee Safety

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

    Resources for workplace employee safety in manufacturing and construction can be easily found through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.  However, in agriculture there can be unique circumstances that apply to worker safety and the resources available specific to agricultural safety compliance can be limited. OSU Ag Safety and Health has dedicated a section of their website to address agricultural workplaces and employee safety.  The website link is This section of the website was developed to provide information, resources and training materials specific to the agricultural workplace and managing safety compliance issues.

    OSU Ag Safety and Health has also put together an OSHA & AG 10 – hour General Industry course designed for the agricultural workplace.  Through the training course, workers and employers become more knowledgeable on recognition, abatement, prevention of workplace hazards and an understanding of OSHA regulations as they apply to the agricultural workplace. After successful completion of the course, participants will receive an OSHA 10-hour General Industry card. For more information about the OSHA & AG program or to schedule training visit or call 614-292-0622


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

  2. Safe Operation of Tractors while Mowing along Roadways

    By: Dewey Mann - Research Associate-

    “A 44-year-old farm owner was killed when the tractor he was driving overturned while using a rotary mower attached to a Ford 600 tractor. The farmer was mowing an area along the gravel road leading to his home in a very remote area. The tractor…was not equipped with a Roll Over Protective Structure (ROPS) or a seatbelt. The tractor's right front wheel went over the edge of the embankment, causing the tractor to overturn and come to rest on top of the victim in the center of the road. A neighbor discovered him about a half hour later and called emergency medical services (FACE 98KY077).”

    With more than adequate rainfall this summer, the grass and weeds will likely be more resilient than normal. To keep field edges looking nice and increase visibility along public roadways, farmers and highway crews will be mowing road ditches. With excess water in the ditches, extra caution should be used when mowing these areas.

    Here are some tips for increasing safety when mowing along roadways:

    • Operators should ALWAYS wear a seatbelt when on tractors equipped with Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) or a cab
    • Older tractors should be retrofitted with ROPS and seatbelts, and are not the best choice for mowing along road ditches
    • Use tractors with a wide wheel base; addition of dual wheels can increase the stability
    • Remove frontend attachments, such as loader buckets, or keep in the lowered position
    • Drive forward down slopes, and back up; two-wheel drive tractors are more susceptible to rear overturn when driving up a slope
    • Never carry extra riders
    • If the tractor gets stuck in the mud, take your time and get additional assistance to remove the tractor

    When removing a stuck tractor from the mud, never attach logs, boards, or posts to tires. Use a large chain or cable tied to another tractor/large vehicle, attached as low as possible on the stuck tractor to avoid an overturn, have bystanders leave the area, and slowly try to remove the tractor.

    While the focus of this article is on agricultural tractors, the same principles apply to riding lawn mowers. Never carry passengers, use caution on slick road banks, keep the ROPS in the upright position and wear a seatbelt at all times.

    Videos showing tractor rollovers with and without Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) can be found at:

    Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) report retrieved from:

    Dewey Mann, research associate for agricultural safety and health, and lecturer for agricultural systems management, can be reached at (614) 292-1952 or


  3. Summer Stress

    Andy Bauer – Ohio AgrAbility Educational Program Coordinator

    Heat stress is a factor that we must all be aware of during the summer months. Working long hours during times of extreme heat and direct sun can be hard on your body. The body must get rid of excess heat to maintain a stable internal temperature. This is done mainly through circulating blood close to the skin and through sweating. When air temperature is close to or greater than normal body temperature cooling the body becomes more difficult. Sweating then becomes the body’s main way of cooling off, but is only effective if the humidity levels allow evaporation and fluids and salts that are lost are adequately replaced. If the body cannot get rid of excess heat then the core temperature increases causing the heart rate to increase. Here are some tips to follow during hot summer days:

    • Wear light colored, loose fitting cotton clothing
    • Try to schedule your workload around the cooler parts of the day
    •  Make sure tractor cabs are well vented and air filters are cleaned on a regular basis
    •  Make sure tractors with air-conditioning are checked on a regular basis and that their filters are also checked regularly
    •  Above all make sure you and your employees all stay well hydrated in hot weather and use sunscreen when working out in the hot sun
    • Avoid drinking alcohol and drinks with large amounts of caffeine or sugar
    • Take regular water breaks and try to get out of the sun during breaks

    Heat stress injuries can become serious medical issues if precautions are not taken. For more information contact the Ohio AgrAbility Program at or Andy Bauer at or (614) 247-7681.

  4. Moving Hay Bales