Ag Safety STAT: July 2018

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. Sun Hats

    Protect yourself with a wide brim hat this summer. These hats are perfect for the outdoor sport enthusiast, water lover, farmer or gardener in your office or family. They are also great to wear on C-deck during those first few OSU football games! The hats feature a wide brim, are lightweight, and quick drying. One-size fits all. The cost is $40.00.  Contact Dee Jepsen at or 614-292-6008.

  2. “Livestock Safety at the Fair” video

    Just in time for county fair season. OSU Ag Safety and Health has produced a new “Livestock Safety at the Fair” video. Here are some links to the video:





  3. Heat Stress Illness and Skin Cancer Prevention

    Great safety and health materials can come from a variety of organizations and programs. Here is a great info-graphic on heat – related illness from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and an info- graphic on skin cancer prevention from the Center for Construction Research and Training.


    Link to Heat Stress Illness graphic                                 

    Link to Skin Cancer Prevention graphic

  4. Ohio AgrAbility in Action: Universal Design in the Garden

    Laura Akgerman – Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility

    Everyone wants a garden to be welcoming, beautiful, and safe. As we age, some tasks become more difficult, and more of a chore than an enjoyable activity. If you enjoy gardening but are finding it is harder to do as you get older, or have more demands on your time, consider integrating Universal Design solutions into your garden. Universal Design is the creation of products and environments meant to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without need for adaptation or specialization. Universal Design can enhance the safety, comfort and usability of your garden by eliminating barriers, creating well defined paths and garden beds, and including seating, built in storage, raised beds, vertical and container gardens, lighting, and integrated irrigation.

    Garden gates help to define the space, and keep larger animals out of the garden, but can also limit your access. If you have a threshold consider eliminating it or creating a ramped threshold – this will make it easier to bring in carts, wagons, or mobility devices, and will eliminate a trip and fall hazard for you and your guests.

    Paths should be smooth, wide enough for a mobility device (at least 30”), and clear of equipment, hoses, or plants. Paths should be a contrasting color from garden beds, this makes it easier to navigate the paths, and not walk into the garden beds by accident. Garden beds that are higher than the path can also help to define the path from the bed, and the higher bed may make it easier to tend your plants.

    If you have trouble stooping, kneeling or bending, raise the garden to a comfortable working height: a raised garden bed, terraced bed, or tabletop container garden can provide seating, trellises and arbors provide shade for you, and vertical space to grow plants.

    Storage benches provide seating and storage in the garden, limiting the need to carry all of your tools and supplies back and forth from home to garden. Benches provide a comfortable place to sit and rest while you are gardening, and a nice spot to relax when the work is done.

    Including lights in your garden design allows you to work when natural light is low, increases visibility and safety, and adds a nice design element. Solar yard lights or outdoor light strings are subtle lighting solutions that are easy to use and can be integrated into any garden.

    Irrigation systems are an ideal way to water your garden, but if that is not within your budget, soaker hoses can be laid out at the beginning of the season and left in the garden beds. If you need to bring a hose into the garden, a collapsible bungee hose is lightweight, may be easier to use that a heavy rubber hose, and take up minimal storage space.

    Universal design solutions can be added to your garden over months or years and can be upgraded to suit your needs and lifestyle. Ohio AgrAbility Fact sheets about Universal Design, gardening with a physical limitation, farming with chronic back pain, and farming with a disability can be found at

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

  5. Lawn Mowing Safety

    Dee Jepsen – State Agricultural Safety & Health Leader

    Summer fun can be cut short when lawn mower safety is not practiced. Each year, nearly 80,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for various types of injuries including deep cuts, loss of fingers and toes, broken and dislocated bones, burns, and eye injuries. Sadly, many of these injuries occur to children and teens.

    A report by Nationwide Children’s Hospital finds children are injured in various ways, and the types of injuries vary by their age. Oftentimes, these young victims are not operating the mower; they are injured when they are passengers of riding mowers, or are a bystander in the mowing area. Passengers and bystanders are almost four times more likely than operators to be admitted for serious medical attention.

    Children and toddlers can be taught lawn mower safety at an early age. They can learn to recognize dangers and taught to respect the machinery for the work it performs. Adults and teens can practice lawn mower safety, including being a good role model for safe equipment operation.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following recommendations to prevent serious injury:

    • All shields should be kept in place to prevent contact with blades and other moving parts.
    • The interlock system should not be disabled or compromised in any way. This feature is in place to stop the blades when an operator leaves the seat of a riding mower or releases the hand controls of a push mower.
    • Riding mowers manufactured with a no-mow-in-reverse mechanism should be set to factory mode, and not disabled. It is not advised to mow in reverse. Push style mowers, when operated in reverse can be pulled over the foot. Riding mowers can back over children and other bystanders.
    • Make sure children are indoors or at a safe distance from the mowing area at all times of operation.
    • Do not allow children to ride as passengers on lawn mower equipment.
    • Prevent injuries from flying objects – such as stones, sticks and toys – by picking up the objects before mowing begins.
    • Use a collection bag for grass clippings or a plate that covers the opening where cut grass is released.
    • Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel surfaces.
    • Start and refuel mowers outdoors, not in a garage or shed. Mowers should be re-fueled with the motor turned off and cool.
    • Operators should wear sturdy shoes (not sandals or light canvass sneakers).
    • Depending on the job, other protective gear for the operator includes anti-vibration gloves, hearing and eye protection.
    • Follow age recommendations for young operators: a minimum age of 12 years for walk behind mowers and a minimum age of 16 years for ride on mowers.

    For more information about agricultural safety, contact Dee Jepsen, at or 614-292-6008. For more information about injuries documented by Nationwide Children's Hospital, see the article: "Lawn mower injuries send 13 children to the emergency department every day: Researchers encourage parents to keep young children inside while mowing and teach teens safety tips." ScienceDaily. (accessed July 3, 2018).

  6. Heat Stress Injuries

    Kent McGuire – CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator

    We have reached the time of year when working in extreme hot weather can create potential health hazards. Risk factors for heat illness include working long hours in high temperatures and humidity, direct sun exposure, no breeze or wind, and usually coupled with heavy physical labor. A heat stress injury occurs when the body cannot regulate its temperature. If the body is working correctly, it is self-cooled by perspiration. When the body’s temperature rises faster than it can cool its self, the core temperature begins to rise quickly and heat stress injuries result. Common heat stress injuries include: 

      1. Heat Cramps
        • Caused by dehydration.
        • Prevention- Water consumption every 15 to 20 minutes.
        • Carbohydrate-electrolyte replacement beverages help prevent a loss of sodium caused by excessive sweating.
        • Firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage will help relieve spasms. Take sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water.
      2. Heat Exhaustion
        • Headache, nausea, weakness, thirst.
        • Get out of the sun. Lie down and loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air-conditioned room or vehicle, if possible. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention or if little to no improvement after 30 minutes.
      3. Heat stroke
        • The body’s temperature rises to critical levels.
        • Confusion, irrational behavior, loss of consciousness, convulsions, lack of sweating, hot dry skin, and abnormally high body temperature.
        • Do not consume fluids when having a heat stroke and seek medical treatment immediately. Delaying medical treatment could result in death.

    Some precautions to prevent heat stress injuries should include:

    - When possible, strenuous work should be scheduled for the coolest time of day (early morning or evening).

    - Dress lightly - lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.

    - Take multiple short breaks in a shaded area or controlled environment, throughout the day.

    - Use extreme caution when working around equipment or machines that will give off additional heat during operations.

    - Provide ventilation to enclosed work locations with limited airflow, such as haymows.

    -  Stay Hydrated – Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after strenuous activities. Cold fluids can also help cool the body. Plan ahead! Hydrating the body should start 24 hours before strenuous activity in higher temperatures.

    - Avoid foods that are high in protein because they increase metabolism, increasing body heat and water loss.

    - Avoid getting too much sun and use sunscreen. Avoid scheduling tasks in direct sunlight, during the middle of the day. Sunburn makes reducing body temperature more difficult.

    - Spend time in air-conditioned places, especially during periods of rest, which allow the body to recuperate.

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

  7. Beautification Time on the Farm

    Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

    Summer tasks on the farm often include getting a fresh coat of paint on the barn. If painting is on the summer to-do list at your farm, make sure to review some ladder safety basics with your kids or employees that will be reaching new heights.

    • Ascend and descend facing the ladder
    • Maintain 3 points of contact (2 feet and a hand or 2 hands and a foot) when on a ladder
    • Know the load limit of the ladder in use
    • Seek a solid, level base to set the ladder
    • Use a fiberglass ladder when working around any electrical sources
    • Locate a ladder away from entrance/exit doors or be sure the doors are locked or blocked while a ladder is present
    • Keep your center of gravity between the ladder supports, do not lean to the side
    • Never place a foot on another adjacent surface to extend your reach
    • Move a ladder to avoid overreaching
    • Place extension ladders at a 4 to 1 ratio: for every 4 feet of ladder the base should be one foot away from the vertical support surface
    • Avoid areas with overhead power lines and keep all ladders at least 10 feet away from energized lines
    • Keep ladders free of slippery materials
    • Do not stand on the top three rungs of an extension ladder
    • Ensure the top of the ladder extends 3 feet above the upper landing surface when used to gain access to that landing
    • Materials should not be carried in hands while climbing, use of a tool belt or pulley system is recommended

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