Ag Safety STAT: March 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. A Survey for Ohio Farmers with On-Farm Grain Storage Facilities

    Farmers in 60 of Ohio’s 88 counties have responded to the On-Farm Grain Storage Safety Survey. The counties highlighted in red have farmer participants! AND, there are 2 weeks remaining to advertise the link for more farmers (especially those in the white highlighted counties) to participate!  The survey link is on this webpage:

    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.

    The 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. 
    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

  2. 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.

  3. Should Have Known Better

    Cindy Folck—Guest Writer

    I should have known better. I’m recovering from a severe concussion; one so bad that I couldn’t drive, watch television, or do anything on the computer or smartphone for nine weeks. My recovery is still ongoing and while writing three months later, I’m only working part-time at my job in town and can’t help on the farm.

    The catalyst for my concussion was not a car accident, falling down the stairs, or even sports related. A 500-pound sow caused my concussion because I didn’t follow safety procedures around livestock.

    I should have known better. I know what to do to keep myself safe around livestock. I grew up on a beef feedlot where we fed out 1500 steers a year and had a 50-cow Angus herd. I helped move cattle, process them in the chute, and load trucks. I showed steers and heifers since I was nine-years-old, including the job of halter breaking 500-pound steers. My husband and I have been raising sows and feeder pigs for 13 years. Over the years, I’ve seen injuries that can result from not handling livestock properly—so I should have known better.

    But, I had become complacent. I was only going to be in the field with the sows for a few seconds to pick up some buckets. I walked out into the field without a cane or stick. My second mistake was I turned my back on a sow in heat. She came up behind me and gave me a push, which threw me into the fence. I got up a little dazed and, with my back still to her, she hooked her nose under my behind and tossed me in the air. The last thing I remember was the sensation of flying in the air. Fortunately, my 16-year-old son, Chester, ran from a nearby barn and took control of the situation.

    It was only a few seconds, but those seconds brought my life to a screeching halt and cost me a precious commodity—time. My Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent visiting with family in a dark room we created in our house. I lost contact with the outside world as I waited for my brain to heal. Unlike a broken leg, you can’t put a cast on your brain to allow movement and interaction with the outside world. Concussions only allow you to sit and wait for the brain to overcome the trauma.

    I’m thankful that my neck was not broken, which was an early concern. I’ve successfully begun to drive, work on the computer again and can at least handle the weather report on the television. My recovery continues and I’m hoping to be able to help on our farm by the time u-pick strawberry season starts. A few seconds of ignoring what I knew I should do cost months of recovery time.

    As we enter into the season of 4-H and FFA members obtaining and working their projects, I encourage parents to really look at how everyone involved is exposed to the animals. The sow that attacked me had been shown. She had traveled to shows around Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Because we interact with them daily, we forget that they are still animals and therefore unpredictable. Don’t cost yourself or other family members time. It’s the one commodity that’s not renewable.


    Photo caption: Cindy Folck (right) and her son, Chester. It’s over three months since the accident and Cindy still has to wear noise-reducing earphones in the farrowing barn.

  4. Working Safely with Anhydrous Ammonia

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

    Many farmers will be applying anhydrous ammonia in the next few weeks. Anyone working with anhydrous ammonia should be familiar with the safe use of the product, understand the potential for injury and know how to respond to an emergency. There are several hazards associated with working with anhydrous ammonia. One hazard is that anhydrous ammonia is stored under high pressure. An unintended release can occur if the equipment is not well maintained, equipment becomes damaged, or workers are not trained to follow exact procedures. Additional hazards can be based on anhydrous ammonia’s chemical properties. Contact with skin can cause freezing of tissue or chemical burns. Severe irritation to eyes can take place since anhydrous ammonia seeks out water. And because of the strong odor, inhaling anhydrous ammonia can irritate the lungs and respiratory system. Some simple suggestions when working with anhydrous ammonia in the field include:

    - Always have water readily available. This should include a squirt bottle of water with you and 5 gallons of emergency water mounted on the nurse tank.

    - Personal protective equipment should include: long sleeve clothing, goggles, chemical gloves, and respirator with approved cartridge.

    - Wear the proper personal protective equipment when connecting or disconnecting nurse tanks from the applicator or when making minor repairs or adjustments in the field.

    - Ensure that a set of personal protective equipment is located in the cab of the tractor and in any vehicle used to transport nurse tanks.

    - Follow the recommended procedures for connecting and disconnecting nurse tanks and applicators. Shortcuts can lead to unintended release or unexpected exposure.

    - When changing nurse tanks or making field repairs, always work upwind of the applicator and the nurse tank. Applicator knives, flow meter, hose connections, bleeder valves, and nurse tank valves can be exposure openings for an unintended release.

    - When changing nurse tanks, park the tractor upwind before opening bleeder valves or disconnecting hoses. This can minimize the chance of anhydrous ammonia entering the cab.

    - Watch for pinch points and crush points when hitching the nurse tank to the applicator.

    - Point the hose end away from you and make sure connectors and connection points are clean when coupling the nurse tank hose to the applicator.

    - Hand tighten valve handles, Over-tightening with a wrench can cause damage to the valve or seals.

    - Ensure hitch pins are secure and secondary chains are attached before moving the nurse tank.

    - Park nurse tanks (empty or full) downwind and away from neighboring houses, public areas and businesses.

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

  5. Pre-Spring Housekeeping Around the Farm

    Andy Bauer—Ohio AgrAbility Program Educational Coordinator

    The farm shop is a busy place this time of year getting equipment ready for spring work. As you are doing maintenance and repairs on equipment to prevent any delays, remember to do some daily basic housekeeping in the shop.

    ·      Keep walkways and areas in front of workbenches free of clutter. Mark walkways on the floor to prevent trip or fall hazards. Keep work mats flat on the floor.

    ·      When working at the workbench for an extended time, use a stool to rest on and take some of the strain off your lower joints instead of standing all the time. Use a short stool when working on equipment instead of sitting on a cold floor or kneeling on it.

    ·      Put tools away when done with them so you are not stepping on them and they can easily be found when needing them again.

    ·      Use a rolling toolbox if possible and keep the tools you are going to need close buy.

    ·      Keep new and used parts out of walkways and keep them in their designated storage areas when done.

    ·      Try to eliminate as many trip hazards as you can.

    ·      Do not let packaging materials, boxes, pallets or other trash build up in working areas. Dispose of it properly.

    ·      Be sure that containers and materials stored on shelves are stable and secure and also that the shelving is designed to handle the weight. Keep frequently used items on shelves in an area 18”-54” off the floor for easy access.

    ·      Organize chemical storage areas and keep them secure from loss and access by any unauthorized persons. Keep pesticides, herbicides, and flammables separated to prevent unneeded issues.

    ·      Keep welding and cutting areas free of debris to prevent fire hazards.

    ·      Spend 10 to 15 minutes at the end of the day in the shop cleaning up and organizing the work area.

    ·      Outside the shop, keep walkways clear of snow, ice and other clutter to prevent falls.

    Following these safety tips will keep you organized and ready for a busy planting season.

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

  6. Severe Weather Awareness Week

    Dr. Dee Jepsen—State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

    Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 20-26, 2016. You can find great educational materials, videos, and spring weather campaign resources 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.

  7. Spot the Safety Violation

    Can you spot the Safety Violations in this photo? 

    Click here to see the answers.