Ag Safety STAT: November 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. National Rural Health Day – November 15th, 2018

    National Rural Health Day – November 15th, 2018

    The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) recognizes this day to celebrate the selfless, community-minded spirit in rural American and examine the unique healthcare challenges rural citizens face. Accessibility, lack of healthcare providers, chronic conditions of aging populations, and the uninsured and underinsured are all areas for which they hope to generate a better understanding by setting aside this day. If you would like ideas on how to build a celebration of your own to highlight this day in your community click on the NOSORH link to start your planning and see how you can become involved,


  2. Grain C.A.R.T. Scheduling

    Grain C.A.R.T. Scheduling

    Agricultural rescue training and education are an integral part to protecting our work force of families tied to agriculture in Ohio. The Grain C.A.R.T. (Comprehensive Agricultural Rescue Trailer) was designed and built to do that twofold. Opportunities exist to offer professional training to first responders and/or deliver grain safety awareness curriculum for outreach education to farmers and agricultural industries by scheduling the Grain C.A.R.T. for your area in 2019. Programming is being booked now to kick off in March. Please call or email Lisa Pfeifer at (614) 292-9455,, if you would like to discuss program planning centered around the Grain C.A.R.T. for your geographic area.

  3. Chainsaw Safety Awareness Training

    Chainsaw Safety Awareness Training

    The Ohio Forestry Association is offering Chainsaw Safety Awareness Level 1 on 11/9/18. Sign-up by going to their website at

  4. SAVE THE DATE: Ohio AgrAbility: Building Independence Through Agriculture

    SAVE THE DATE: Ohio AgrAbility: Building Independence Through Agriculture

    Join us Tuesday February 26, 2019 for a one-day workshop and learn how agriculture and horticulture can be a viable work option for individuals with developmental disabilities.

    Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

    Location: Nationwide and Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus, OH 43210

    This workshop will benefit disability services professionals and advocates by:

    • Learning ways to find agricultural and horticultural employers, how to promote your clients to these employers, and overcome barriers to employment
    • Reviewing what training and industry credentials might be beneficial for these jobs
    • Providing a list of resources for potential funding of adaptive equipment and modifications, Assistive Technology, job and technical support

    This Workshop will benefit farmers, agricultural businesses and landscapers by:

    • Connecting you with a dependable, hard-working and loyal workforce
    • Introducing you to disability services professionals who can offer support and resources for you and your employees
    • Reviewing potential tax credits for hiring individuals with disabilities, and potential tax incentives for providing accommodations and workplace accessibility

    When the focus shifts from disability to ability, everyone benefits

  5. The Opioid Misuse Community Assessment Tool

    A tool to assist in better understanding the national opioid crisis and inform effective community conversations and interventions. NORC at the University of Chicago and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s USDA Rural Development created this tool to allow users to map overdose hotspots and overlay them with data that provide additional context to opioid addiction and death - including the strength and diversity of local economies, ethnicity, educational attainment, and disability status of residents. Explore the data rich site at

  6. Ohio AgrAbility in Action: Ohio AgrAbility Makes a Difference with ASM Club

    Jessy Woodworth, Agricultural Communications Major, The Ohio State University, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

    On a crisp Sunday morning in mid-September, 11 members of Ohio State’s Agricultural Systems Management (ASM) club arrived at BaaLiss Grass Farm.

    Clarence Atkinson and Deborah Mattix own BaaLiss Grass Farm, raising Irish Dexter cattle, Katahdin sheep and Buckeye chickens, all organic and free range. They grow these animals on their land and sell the products at farmers markets. However, in order to keep up with demand organic, grass fed meat, they needed a hand.

    “We found hope in AgrAbility,” Mattix said. “They make it possible to get the human piece we need and keep this place alive. The people make all the difference.”

    Atkinson, a lifelong dairy farmer and the second generation to own the farm, has Congenital Myasthenic Syndrome; a form of muscular dystrophy that impacts the connection between nerve and muscle cells. His physical disabilities made farm work more difficult and hazardous than it already was. “We can’t stop farming because of one obstacle,” Mattix insisted, looking out over her flock of Katahdin sheep. “We have made a life here and have adapted. We just need some help every once in a while. That’s why we are so thankful for these boys.”

    “We are here to help. Our classes at Ohio State have given us certain skills that Clarence and Deborah don’t have anymore, and that’s where we come in,” Amherst, Ohio native and ASM club’s Service Chair Brandon Palmer, explained.  “This is a special chance to give back to the agricultural community. We just want to help and this is an awesome chance to do that. We are excited to help out, but want events like this to keep happening. This has to be sustainable. It can’t be a one-and-done thing.”

    “We are out here helping the agricultural community, helping somebody who is not able to completely pursue the passion that he has done his whole life due to being disabled,” said club member Forrest Lang, 20, of Wooster, Ohio. “We are just happy to be here helping out with stuff that we are good at.”

    “AgrAbility is a vital program to the disabled population of farmers in America,” explained Laura Akgerman, the Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility, OSU Extension, and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and assisted in coordinating the connection between BaaLiss and the ASM club.

    “Our farmers are able and willing to work, they just need a few adjustments to make it safe. We help them get funding for those adjustments and help in any way we can.”

    All tasks they had been given were quickly completed. The club churned out results and finished projects faster than Mattix could keep up. She trudged through the mud in her crusted boots, trying to find more for the group to help with, but couldn’t make a list fast enough. When the tasks were concluded, the club members found more to do, eventually running out of resources. They joked and laughed with the farmers while changing oil, cutting down small trees and filling groundhog holes. The work was easy for the hoard, but to the couple, it was several weeks’ worth of duties that would have ended up being pushed aside for more pressing tasks.

    “We can’t describe how much this means to us,” Mattix told the group. They conspired for a moment and asked if there was any way they could repay the men and show their gratitude. The debt was quickly settled with handshakes, hugs and leftover bananas.

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

  7. On-Farm Grain Storage Facility Safety

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

    As harvest finishes up, thoughts about on-farm grain storage turn to grain quality in the bin and handling or hauling out throughout the winter. Common injuries associated with grain handling facilities include slips, trips and falls; blunt trauma incidents; sprains / strains; entanglement; engulfment; and injuries caused by equipment.  Below are safety considerations for your grain storage facility when working this fall and winter:

    1. Keep equipment properly maintained. Recognize, respect, and avoid equipment hazards such as cut points, wrap points, pinch points, burn points, and stored energy. Severe injuries from equipment hazards can happen in a fraction of a second.
    1. Emergency contact information and procedures should be available and verified.  Make sure cell phones are adequately charged and have signal before starting potentially dangerous work.
    1. Try to avoid working alone. If you must work alone, notify family members or coworkers before starting potentially dangerous work and tell them when you expect to finish.
    1. Know where overhead power lines are so they can be avoided when moving equipment or using a portable auger.
    1. Insure there is adequate lighting at the facility when working in low light conditions to prevent slips, trips, and falls.
    1. Have a fire extinguisher handy and charged.  A fire in its beginning stages can many times be extinguished by quick response by someone with a fire extinguisher.
    1. If the grain is out of condition, the air quality inside the bin may not be safe. Do not try to enter without first sampling the air.
    1. Use a N-95 respirator when unloading grain or working in grain bins.  Grain dust and molds can cause serious respiratory health issues.
    1. Never enter a grain bin while grain handling components, such as augers, are in operation
      1. All equipment shutoffs should be labeled in the electrical panel and at switches.  This makes it easier to shut off specific equipment in the event of an emergency.
      2. Lockout/tagout procedures should be developed for all equipment.  When working on the grain bin, lockout/tagout keeps equipment from being unexpectedly started.
    1. If you must enter the bin use a body harness, lifeline and station a person at the entry point to monitor the person in the bin.
    1. Bridged grain or grain lining the wall of the bin is dangerous and should be handled at a distance, preferably from outside the bin.  Use a pole to break up bridged grain and try pounding on the outside of the bin to dislodged grain that clings to bin walls. 
    1. Ask your local fire department if they would like a tour of your facility.  If needed, it will help them respond more efficiently to your facility.

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

  8. Chain Saw Safety

    Dee Jepsen – State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

    Clearing trees and fence line shrubs are often a fall and winter activity. Having woody landscape trimmed makes for a better environment, and also provides firewood for bonfires and fireplaces. Here are important recommendations to protect all workers while using chainsaws.

    Start with wearing the right gear. Personal protection equipment should include:

    • Sturdy footwear, steel-toed boots are preferred

    • Leather gloves

    • Eye and face protection

    • Hearing protection – either ear plugs or muffs

    • Hard hat – specialized hard hats can include a debris face shield and built-in ear muffs

    • Chainsaw chaps

    • Avoid wearing frayed or loose fitting clothes that can catch on the bark or caught in the saw

    Chainsaw selection and maintenance:

    • Use the right saw for the job, as there are different sizes available for the tree size as well as the worker’s skill set.

    • Keep the saw in good condition. Check the operator’s manual for a maintenance schedule that will describe small engine maintenance and chain sharpening recommendations.

    • Sharpen the chain if:

                The chain tends to “walk” sideways while cutting.

                The cut debris shows fine powder instead of chips.

                It is necessary to press hard against the wood to cut it.

                Cutting produces the smell of burnt wood.

    Fueling and starting the chainsaw:

    • Refuel the saw while the engine is cool.

    • Never smoke when working the saw.

    • Never start the saw in mid air; always place the saw on the ground.

    • Place the chainsaw on the ground and use two hands to start it. Grip the top handle with one hand, while pulling the starter cable with the other hand.

    Recommended Operating Procedures:

    • Operate the saw on stable ground with good footing to avoid slips and falls.

    • Never operate the saw overhead.

    • Do not cut using the tip of the saw, as this can result in a kickback reaction.

    • Avoid chain contact with hard objects, including the ground, rocks, or metal hardware.

    • Do not disable any safety features of the saw, such as anti-kickback bars or bar-tip shields.

    • Operate the saw in good lighting conditions.

    • Do not operate the saw when fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

    For additional information, contact Dee Jepsen at or 614-292-6008. Or refer to the Chain Saw Safety Factsheet at:

  9. Building an Emergency Kit for Farm or Home Transportation

    Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

    Get a jump on inclement weather and stock a road emergency kit for all vehicles now. Many of the useful items you may find you already have on hand.

    • Jumper cables
    • First aid kit – take note to add a small supply of any necessary prescription medications
    • Cell phone – remember a charger and backup battery pack too
    • Local maps
    • Flashlight and some extra batteries
    • Food and water – energy bars and bottled water take little space, yet can be vital if you become stranded
    • Hats and gloves
    • Wool blanket
    • Ice scraper
    • Shovel
    • Pen and paper
    • Duct tape – can be utilized for many temporary holds/repairs
    • Matches in a waterproof container

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