Ag Safety STAT: October 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.


In This Issue:

Thoughts from the Editor

Injury Prevention

Emergency Management

Monthly Safety Snicker

  1. National Fire Prevention Week

    Dee Jepsen—State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

    October 4-10 is National Fire Prevention Week

    In recognition of this commemorative week, the OSU Ag Safety and Health Office has prepared various fire safety messages for your readership and local programming efforts.

    In addition to these articles, there is also an article in the October C.O.R.N. newsletter:  “ Dry Weather Makes Field Fires a Safety Concern for Farmers.”   Access this article through the following link,

    Here’s a general checklist for everyone to practice:

    1. CHANGE the batteries in your smoke detector. Don’t have at least 1 detector on each level of your home or apartment? Then INSTALL smoke detectors now!  Having an alert system will help save lives in the unfortunate event of a fire emergency.
    2. CHECK your portable fire extinguishers. It’s recommended to have an extinguisher in the kitchen and garage areas for small fires that can be contained quickly.
    3. RESPONSE PLANS are critical for homes and businesses. Fires can spread rapidly, often times trapping victims in minutes. Have 2 ways to escape every room, and purchase a fire ladder for homes and apartments with second or third floors.

    For more information on fire prevention, including helpful worksheets for planning and preparing for fire emergencies, please visit the National Fire Protection Association website at

  2. Fall Fire Safety

    Cora Carter—OSU Ag Safety and Health Graduate Assistant

    As the chill creeps into the air, so do unique risks to the fall season’s festivities.  Simple precautions may be taken to prevent injury this year. One of the greatest dangers is that of fire and burns. Fall is a season known for crunchy dry leaves, dry corn stalks, bonfires, candles, and spooky smoke effects. Dry tinder and open flames greatly increase the chance of fire.

    Simple fire safety precautions begin with using small flashlights or battery operated candles in the place of candles. Decorations for special events, often involving candles, account for an annual average of 800 home fires annually, according to NFPA.

    In the United States, more than 100 people die each year as a result of their clothing becoming ignited. Only purchase costumes and fabric decorations that are labeled flame resistant or retardant. Avoid trailing features that present a higher risk of ignition.

    Keep all flammable decorations away from all heat sources. This includes candles along with light bulbs and space heaters. Jack-o-lanterns can be illuminated with small, battery-operated candles.

    Make sure all exits are clear and well lit. Do not block pathways or stairs with pumpkins or cornstalks. Ensure that children are supervised at all times.

    Keep in mind that a safe season is the best season! Enjoy all the fun of fall with your family!

  3. Safety Considerations at Your Grain Bins

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

    Harvest season is in full swing. For many farmers this includes a lot of activity at their grain storage facility filling bins with corn and soybeans. Throughout Ohio, on-farm grain storage facilities are being upgraded and newly constructed storage facilities are getting larger and larger. Common injuries associated with grain handling include slips, trips and falls; blunt trauma incidents; sprains / strains; entanglement; engulfment; and injuries due to fatigue.  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. Notify family members or coworkers before starting potentially dangerous work and tell them when you expect to finish.  If you are supposed to be done in three hours, someone can check on you if you are late.
    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. 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. Bridged grain or grain lining the wall of the bin is dangerous and should be handled at a distance.  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. If the grain is out of condition, poisonous gases may accumulate.  If you suspect that the air inside the bin is not safe, do not try to enter without first sampling the air.
    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. 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 farm.

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

  4. Fall Agritourism Preparedness

    Cora Carter – OSU Ag Safety and Health Graduate Assistant

    This festive fall season comes with a variety of safety concerns for owners of corn mazes, pumpkin patches, haunted houses, and other fall agritourism sites. A safe season is the goal for every agritourism operation. There are several ways that safety can come first for your farm this fall.

    Have fire safety and weather emergency plans in place. Make sure that all the workers are knowledgeable about these plans. Place clearly marked signs at the entrance and exit of mazes and buildings.

    There should be established rules for visitors to follow. Employees should monitor the behavior of visitors and prevent any unsafe behaviors.

    Fire is a serious hazard to corn mazes. Parking lots and roads should be at least 75 feet away from the maze. The paths should be clear and free of debris. There should be no smoking in or around the maze. Place fire extinguishers near the maze, and make sure that employees monitoring the maze have access to them and have been trained to use them.

    It’s a good idea to contact your local fire department prior to the beginning of your season. Let them know the exact size and coordinates of your agritourism activity. If possible, ask the local emergency personnel to visit so you can show them the different areas of your farm. Give them a copy of your fire safety plan and a map of your operation with water sources and hazards well marked. This will assist them if any emergency occurs on your location. It is best to be overly prepared rather than have the fire department get lost because they don’t know where your field is. Oftentimes the agritourism activity is not at the farm address, or can be accessed via an alternative and faster route.

    Pumpkin patches seem like simple locales of safe fall fun, and they can be, if safety precautions are taken by visitors and staff alike.  Ensure that the paths in the patch are clear and free of debris. Have wagons and staff available to help lift and carry the pumpkins for guests.

    Use caution when shooting pumpkin cannons! Keep people out of the path of flying pumpkin debris. Use safety glasses or goggles and hearing protection.

    Inviting the public to your farm can be both risky and rewarding. Minimize the risks with simple precautions and have an enjoyable season!

    For additional safety information your fall agritourism operation, visit the OSU Ag Safety and Health website,

  5. Take the Stairs