Ag Safety STAT: November 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.


  1. Safety and Health Topics for your Winter 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 our “Most Popular List” below. The average session is 45-60 minutes, but can be adjusted or combined with other topics to fit your schedule. Our goal is to make safety and health programs fun and interactive, oh yes, and also effective in changing behaviors!  We look forward to scheduling in your area for the 2016 season.

    “Tractor and Equipment Safety – Hazards with the machinery we use everyday”  Tractors are the most hazardous injury agents on farms. This program addresses the top safety concerns, and involves the audience in a little game of reaction time. How fast do you have to be to avoid getting wrapped, caught, or entangled in farm machinery. 

    “Grain Storage Solutions for Safety and Health”  It’s true, there’s a lot of money tied up in grain storage systems. But if the producer hasn’t considered safety and health factors in the equation, the costs of personal risks could even be higher. This program identifies the top priorities all producers should consider when working around on-farm stored grain facilities.  And it’s not just safety - grain dust is a serious culprit affecting our long-term health situation.

    “OSHA and AG – Busting any myths and learning about safe work practices for the farm and agritainment businesses” What rules apply to family farms, youth labor issues, and other management topics are addressed in this program. What considerations need to be made when the public is invited to the farm for agritainment activities?

    “Noise on the Farm – Detecting and preventing the sound problem”  This program explains the effects of noise on the ear and how noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented. For the youngest ears to those senior years, learn what can be done to protect your hearing for a lifetime.

    “ATVs and UTVs – Training programs for all ages”  Common utility vehicles used on the farm can also cause serious injury. This course will look at safe operating procedures, recognizing potential hazards and effective uses for ATVs and UTVs on the farm.

    Other general Agricultural Safety & Health Programs can be developed to suit your audiences’ needs.  Please contact Dee Jepsen or Kent McGuire to schedule.

  2. Ohio AgrAbility Would Like to Conduct an Educational Program in your Area

    To help prevent back injuries for farmers and gardeners, Ohio AgrAbility will be presenting “Oh My Aching Back” presentations throughout the state. The 45-min presentation will focus on back strain and give tips and information for preventing back injuries for both the young and older farmers and gardeners.

    The program objectives are to:
    1. Identify the 3 types of back injuries
    2. Demonstrate proper lifting and work practices to prevent back strain
    3. Learn how various products incorporate Universal Design and Assistive Technology features to make the chores easier
    Other popular program sessions offered by the AgrAbility Program include:
    “AgrAbility and Universal Design: How we can help Ohio farmers”
    Table Top display: The Ohio AgrAbility Program
    For more information and to schedule a presentation contact Andy Bauer, Educational Program Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility at or (614) 247-7681. For more information about the Ohio AgrAbility Program visit
  3. Preventing Hearing Loss

    Dee Jepsen—State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

    How much haven’t you heard today?  Noise-induced hearing loss is a growing concern for Ohio farmers and rural land owners as they go about their normal chores, and especially this time of year. Common pieces of machinery that can cause hearing loss include tractors, grain dryers, chainsaws and firearms. Other small equipment like air compressors, grain augers, lawn mowers, leaf blowers and shop tools can also contribute to the problem. Daily noise exposure is cumulative and hearing loss from these items is permanent and irreversible.

    To learn more about noises on the farm, watch a new video produced by the OSU Ag Safety and Health program in partnership with Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. This video explains the common ways hearing loss can occur in agricultural environments and the steps to prevent the damage. The link to the online video is:

    The two primary strategies to reduce or prevent exposure involve taking action against the equipment being used, as well as the person’s exposure to the noise. Here are several steps to control noise exposure.

    For the equipment, it means controlling the noise at the source:

    1.     Select machinery and equipment with lower sound levels. Often times, newer equipment has housing and insulation that reduce noise output.

    2.      Perform routine maintenance. Replace worn, loose or unbalanced machine parts to cut down on the vibration and noise that is emitted. Well-lubricated machine parts will also reduce vibration and friction. Ensure mufflers are installed and in good condition on self-propelled machines.

    3.     Isolate the noise source from the worker. Tractor and other equipment cabs are good options for keeping the worker away from engine and machine operation noise on self-propelled machines. Insulating walls in the farm shop or garage will also prevent the noise from travelling through to other work or living spaces. 

    4.     Limit movement and vibration of stationary power tools. Tool stands can add vibration and more noise to the worksite, especially if they are not secured. Check that all connections are tight and snuggly bolted down. Add rubber pads to the base of table-mounted equipment to keep the tool from being directly mounted to a metal stand.

    For the equipment operator:

    1.     Wear hearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in workplaces that exceed 85 decibels (dB).

    2.     Choose PPE with a 20 NRR rating or higher. The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is included on the package of each product. This number tells the user the decibels that are reduced by wearing the hearing protection. The higher the rating, the better the product. As an example, if the workplace measures 100 decibels (dB), wearing hearing protection with an NRR rating of 22, makes the total exposure 78dB.

    3.     Wear hearing protection correctly. The NRR will do no good if the product is not worn correctly. Ear plugs need to be inserted into the ear canal, while ear muffs cover the entire outer ear. Either type is acceptable if worn correctly.

    4.     Limit daily exposure to high noise areas.  When the worker is continuously exposed to an 85dB or higher work area, PPE is needed for the entire day. Chores measuring 90dB and higher will require protection while doing that task, but these activities may not take an entire work day. 

    5.     Post signs “High Noise Area” in workplaces that require PPE. A sound pressure level meter can accurately measure the work environment so protection is used when it is needed.

    Waiting too long to put a noise protection practice in place is not wise. Hearing loss is permanent! Unlike wearing corrective eyeglasses, hearing aids cannot restore a person’s hearing; these devices can only amplify the sounds that can still be detected by the auditory nerves.

    For more information about the OSU Ag Safety Program visit or contact Dee Jepsen, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at or 614-292-6008.

  4. Safety with Hand and Power Tools

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

    Now that harvest season is wrapping up, it is time to start planning for those projects or repairs that need to be completed before winter sets in. Most of these projects will involve the use of hand or power tools. Common injuries associated with hand and power tools include cuts, burns, blunt trauma or flying debris, as well as health hazards associated from dust or fumes. Below are safety considerations when working with hand and power tools.

    General Safety Guidelines:
    - Use tools that are the right size and right type for the job.
    - Operate all tools according to the manufacturers’ instructions and recommendations.
    - Use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to prevent injury during use of the tool.
    - Keep all tools in good condition with proper storage and regular maintenance.
    - Examine each tool for damage before use.
    - Secure small or short work with a vise or clamp.
    - Avoid leaving tools on an elevated work area or hanging over the edge of a workbench where they could fall.
    Hand Tools (any tool not self-powered: hammer, screwdriver, handsaw, shovel, ax):
    - Inspect hand tools for any damage. Replace any worn, bent, cracked or damaged handles.
    - Only use tools with insulated handles on electrical projects.
    - When using cutting tools, cut away from the body.
    - Make sure saw or knife blades are sharp to promote efficient use of the hand tool.
    - Keep impact tools such as punches or chisels free of mushroomed heads.
    - Keep edges of large tools such as shovels or axes sharp.
    - Avoid laying large handled tools flat on the ground or with sharp edges or points up.
    Power Tools (electric, pneumatic, or gasoline powered):
    - Disconnect power tools when not in use or when changing blades, grinding wheels or drill bits.
    - Inspect electrical cords before use and replace any damaged cords.
    - Never carry a tool by the cord or unplug by “yanking” the plug out of the outlet.
    - Do not hold finger on the power button or switch to avoid unintentional starting.
    - Make sure machine guards are in place and functional.
    - Do not use electrical power tools in wet or damp conditions.
    - Keep a good footing and maintain balance when operating power tools.
    - Consider specific PPE needed when working with “hot work” tools such as welders or torches.
    - Make sure pneumatic tools are properly oiled and hoses / connections are free from damage.
    - Make sure air hoses on the ground do not become trip hazards.
    - Ensure that all safety switches work properly.
    - Work with gasoline power equipment only in properly ventilated areas.
    - Clean up the work area after the project is complete. Remove any dust, debris, metal shavings, cutting oil, or any other materials from the workspace.

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

  5. Brutus Wears PPE