Ag Safety STAT: May 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. We're filling a vacant position within the Ag Safety Program

    A Program Manager position in the area of Agricultural Safety and Health has been posted to OSU’s job listings website. This position joins our team to plan, implement, and evaluate injury prevention educational programs, video vignettes, fact sheets, and displays for various audiences across the state of Ohio. The position will also coordinate educational activities for first responders involved in agricultural safety, rescue, disaster preparedness, and the Grain C.A.R.T. simulator. The person will conduct outreach with our Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Emergency Management Agency (EMA) program areas as well as conduct surveillance efforts with the Ohio Dept of Health to maintain the Farm Family Injury Database of Ohio. This position will serve as liaison with the Ohio EMA, Ohio Dept of Ag, USDA State Emergency Board, Drought and Flood Advisory Boards, Ingestion Zone Reentry and Recovery Advisory Group, and the Extension Disaster Education Network to implement programs, interpret policies, and procedures and services.  Working as a team member, responsibilities also include maintaining our Ag Safety and Health Program’s social media presence, assisting with annual reports, technical papers, grant activities, and writing general press articles. Master’s degree or equivalent experience required.

    For more information on this job posting, see the following link:

    or contact Dee Jepsen, State Leader, Agricultural Safety and Health,

  2. Looking for Farmers to Participate in Grain Dust Study

    Ohio farmers are being asked to participate in a study about their dust exposure while working with grain handling and storage systems. The project is funded by the Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) to learn the real exposures farmers experience at when they unload and clean their bins. 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. 

    The mini study requires participating farmers to wear an air sampling pump while unloading grain and cleaning out their grain bins. The sample will be taken for the time period they are working, and scheduled by the farm operation. There should be limited disruption to the overall production schedule of the farm, or interruption from the farmers’ daily work. No personal identifying information that could be traced back to the producer will be collected.  Dust samples are needed for corn, soybeans, and wheat. All Ohio farmers who own, manage, or use on-farm grain bin structures are eligible to have samples taken at their location. Results will be shared back to the farm operator so they know how their samples compare to other samples taken in the state.

    Farm workers interested in participating, before their bins are emptied of their current commodity please contact Dee Jepsen, 614-292-6008 or

  3. Hitching/Unhitching Safety with Farm Equipment

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health

    One of the most common tasks on the farm is hitching or unhitching equipment. The two most common tractor-hitching methods use the drawbar or the 3-point hitch assembly. In either case, there can be multiple elements involved in the process including: connecting the implement using a hitch pin, adjusting a jack stand, attaching safety chains, connecting the PTO shaft, connecting hydraulic couplings, or plugging in electrical connections, Common injuries during hitching are caused by pinch points, crush points, blunt trauma, and run-over. General safety guidelines to follow when hitching or unhitching equipment include:

    - Review the equipment manual of the tractor and implement before use.

    - Ensure hitch attachments match the tractor hitch category.

    - Assess the situation and make a plan prior to attempting to hitch the implement.

    - Place the tractor in a lower gear and lower the RPMs to reduce sudden quick movements when approaching or pulling away from the implement.

    - When assisting the operator, keep visual contact and communicate with the operator at all times.

    - The ground person should stay outside of the wheels of the tractor until the hitch and drawbar are lined up correctly.

    - Leave yourself an escape route. Plan a travel path to get out of the way should the tractor lurch towards you.

    - Use only approved hitch pins. If hitch pins are damaged or bent, take them out of service.

    - Make sure the hitch pin is locked in place or secured with a retainer clip.

    - Once the implement is attached, make sure the tractor is in PARK and shut off the engine to complete additional hitching tasks such as connecting PTO or hydraulic lines.

    - Before connecting or disconnecting hydraulic lines, ensure the pressure has been released from the system.

    - Use proper lifting techniques to reduce sprains / strains when lifting or moving the implement tongue.

    - Ensure there is sufficient tongue weight to stabilize the implement when unhitching.

    - Use an approved size tongue jack to support the tongue weight of the implement.

    - Only use jacks that are attached to the tongue. Temporary jacks can kick out or fail with minimal implement movement.

    - Remove all additional connections prior to pulling away from equipment.

    - When unhitching on slopped areas, chock the wheels of the implement to prevent unwanted movement.

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

  4. Safety Considerations for Community Gardens and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

    Dee Jepsen—State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader
    Andrea Costin, MPH—Recent OSU graduate where she conducted a research project on agricultural related injuries
    Community gardens present unique safety and health hazards for garden staff and volunteers. Workers of all ages tend to these gardens, with various levels of knowledge, skills, and physical condition. For many volunteers, working in a community garden or on a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm, is their first experience with crop production or horticulture. Having awareness of the hazards and risk is not something they think about when they come to work. Educating the staff and volunteers on workplace safety, emergency action plans, and first aid is important for community garden owners and managers. 
    Workplace Safety. The physical environment itself on farms, gardens and greenhouses can have hazards that lead to injuries. 
    Hand tools designed to cut, dig and prune do not discriminate between plant and soil, and human skin. Often times a good pair of gloves, close-toe shoes, and long sleeves/pants will protect the person from minor cuts and abrasions. 
    Community gardens built on previous residential or industrial plots may have debris in the soil left behind by the previous owners; it is not uncommon to find scrap metal, nails, broken glass, and other discarded items on the property. Working on these newly developed sites may also require gloves, close-toe shoes, and long sleeves/pants to protect from cuts abrasions, and puncture wounds. Having a current vaccination for tetanus is a good idea as well.
    Some tasks using roto-tillers, electric pruners and chainsaws will require stronger protection like leather gloves and boots. 
    Chemical handling will require rubber gloves, and possibly a rubber apron, rubber boots, and goggles (depending on the scope of the project, and the type of chemical being applied).
    Slips, trips and falls are common in garden and greenhouse environments. Uneven terrain, water hoses, garden tools, and equipment like pots, stakes, and harvest containers are often to blame. Persons with limited mobility or other handicaps may find it difficult to assess all areas of the greenhouse or garden plot.
    Common ergonomic issues affecting horticultural workers include repetitive motions and awkward posture. It is recommended to take regular stretch breaks or rotate between garden tasks that require long periods of the same activity in order to reduce muscle tension.  
    Sun safety practices include wearing a hat with a 3” brim all the way around and lightweight clothing. These protect the skin from from UV exposure when sunscreen is not desirable.   
    Emergency Action Plans. Because emergencies are unpredictable and can occur at anytime, including weather-related emergencies, it is important to have a pre-determined plan of action for all garden staff and volunteers to follow. Not all persons may be familiar with the community or know where to take shelter if a thunderstorm or weather event strikes.
    Posting a sign where to take shelter in the event of a weather-related emergency is important for staff, volunteers, and visitors. When there is no place to post the sign, and there is a small workforce (10 or fewer), it is possible to verbally give this information.
    Have emergency numbers posted for non-life threatening 911 emergencies. It is also recommended to post a number where a supervisor or property manager can be contacted. 
    First Aid. Being prepared for injuries is just as important as preventing injuries. 
    Have a first aid kit available on-site, or possibly in a person’s vehicle, for treatment of injuries, insect stings, and heat/headache relief.
    Access to fresh water for drinking, hand-washing, and heat stress cool-down is recommended. Having staff and volunteers bring their own water when attending the gardens may be necessary in some locations. On-site water supplies collected from rooftops or rain barrels should not be assumed to be drinking quality; many contaminants can be present.  
    Additional safety and health information, designed specifically for community gardens, greenhouses, small farms and community supported agriculture (CSA) land can be accessed on-line at:
    Additional planning guides for emergencies, including safety information for agritourism and outdoor community festivals or events, are available at
    For more information on agricultural safety, contact Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader at or visit the Ag Safety and Health Program website
  5. Spot the Safety Violation

    Can you spot the Safety Violations in this photo? 

    Click here to see the answers.