Ag Safety STAT: October 2017

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 Fire Prevention Week is October 8 – 14, 2017

    Dee Jepsen – State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

    At work, at home, on the farm, or in the community… fires do not discriminate where they appear, or what they destroy. The theme for this year’s prevention week is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”  The message reinforces the need for everyone to have an escape plan.

    Emergency response plans are critical for homes and businesses. Fires can spread rapidly, often times trapping victims in minutes. Always have 2 ways to escape every room.

    • Start with a map of your home or business, including all doors and windows.

    • Talk with family and employees about their exit strategies

    • Purchase a fire ladder for homes, apartments, and offices with second or third floors.

    • Have an outside meeting place for everyone to gather and be accounted for; ideally this should be a safe distance from the building.

    • Practice your escape plan using the different exit route scenarios, testing that doors and windows are easily opened when needed.

    • All family members and employees should be able to execute the plan on their own; this includes children and seniors. Additional accommodations may be required when persons have physical or cognitive disabilities.

    In addition your escape plan, there are two other important practices to take this month:

    1. CHANGE the batteries in your smoke detector. If you don’t have at least 1 detector on each level of your home or apartment, then INSTALL a smoke detector now! Having an alert system will help save lives in the unfortunate event of a fire emergency.
    1. 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.

    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

    OSU Ag Safety programs can be accessed at or contact Dee Jepsen at or 614-292-6008.

  2. Train-the-Trainer Webinar: Teaching Tractor Certification Courses to Ohio Teens

    Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

    Teaching tractor safety courses to young workers is important on several levels. Besides safety, teens can learn important skills from a good training program. Students can also receive certification credit, which is a marketable addition to their Career Passport and other high school credentials.

    A train-the-trainer webinar will be held on Thursday November 2, 2017 from 3-4pm. This online training program is designed for anyone interested in teaching tractor safety to teen drivers, including:

         • Extension educators with 4-H or AGNR appointments,

         • High School Ag Science educators,

         • Agricultural Employers who hire and/or supervise teens,

         • Parents and other volunteers interested in teaching tractor and machinery safety programs in their

    The program will introduce a community-based approach to teaching safe equipment operation to teens. It will include training requirements for hired teen workers, curriculum available in Ohio, driving courses for skill building and testing, and required documentation for the youth to receive their official Department of Labor recognized certificate.

    Contact Dee Jepsen at or 614-292-6008 for more information and a link to the webinar. This program will be taped for participant access following the training. 

  3. 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 2018. 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 utilizing the Grain C.A.R.T. in your geographic area.

  4. Grain Handling Safety Coalition

    The Grain Handling Safety Coalition’s mission is to prevent and reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities across the grain industry spectrum through safety education, prevention and outreach.   The site has training resources, handouts, toolbox talks and resources for young workers. More information can be found by clicking on,

  5. Farming and Gardening with Chronic Pain: Strategies for Managing Your Pain

    Laura Akgerman Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility

    Chronic pain is common among farmers and gardeners because of the physical nature of their work. Pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying, and walking can all aggravate existing conditions, or cause new disabling or painful conditions. If a farmer or gardener has a disability, chronic pain may be a side effect of that disability. Some strategies to manage the pain are to use medication, exercise, hydrotherapy (using ice or heat), meditation, stretching and “working through the pain”. Ignoring or working through the pain is not a good strategy, because it may aggravate a chronic condition or disability, or cause an injury, which cause more pain, and loss of ability to work.

    Not all of these strategies will work for everyone, and some may be impossible because of a disabling condition or physical ability. Please consult with a doctor before making changes in your medication, exercise or diet and nutrition.

    Medication Over the counter pain medication can be very effective at managing pain. If these pain medications do not work, a doctor may be able to prescribe a pain medication; please be aware of the risks of addiction and increased tolerance for a pain relief drug. There is an unfortunate epidemic of opioid addiction, and more than 80% of people who are addicted started with a pain medication from a doctor. If you are prescribed a pain medication, talk to your doctor about how long you should take the drug, when you should stop taking it, and how to dispose of unused drugs.

    Exercise If you are able to exercise this can be a very effective way to manage pain, strengthen your body, increase your flexibility and possibly reduce your risk of injury. If you do not exercise regularly, start slowly with low weights and shorter workouts. It is easy to be excited and overexert yourself when you begin exercising, this is not beneficial, as you could hurt yourself, and you may not want to continue exercising if you are in pain after every workout.

    Ice or Heat Applying ice or heat can help reduce pain, and can promote healing of an injury. Ice is good if you are swollen or want to numb the pain. Use a bag of ice or frozen peas wrapped in a kitchen towel, do not apply ice directly to your skin, you could give yourself an ice burn.

    Heat is good for painful and stiff joints or muscles, it can soften and loosen muscles, and reduce pain. Use an electric heating pad, and do not lay on it, or you could burn yourself.

    Meditation and Mindfulness Meditating or listening to guided imagery can be helpful to redirect your mind away from the pain. Using guided imagery can help you imagine a relaxing place where you are not in pain. Mindfulness focuses your attention on the present moment, and how you are reacting and thinking about the pain. Meditation can also help if you have difficulty sleeping.

    Stretching, Tai Chi or Yoga Stretching, yoga and tai chi can help with increasing flexibility, relaxing tight or stiff muscles, and building strength. All are typically done slowly, are low impact (no hard striking of the floor with your feet), and can be done without any equipment.

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

  6. Safety Tips for Bonfires

    Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

    Fire safety is important - even at a bonfire. Follow these recommendations to make your next bonfire safe and enjoyable for all:

    • Use a fire pit, as opposed to just building a fire on the ground. Fire pits should be approximately 12-18 inches deep, at least 2 feet wider than the size of the fire, and circled with stones or bricks.
    • Find a safe place to build your fire pit. It should be away from buildings, parked cars, overhead trees, and other fuel sources.
    • Use a small amount of wood combined with kindling materials to start the fire. Never use starter fluids or fuel to light the bonfire.
    • Don't let the flames get out of control or exceed 3 feet higher than the wood materials.
    • Have at least one type of extinguisher on hand. This could be a 5-gallon bucket of water, a bucket of sand, or a charged ABC fire extinguisher.
    • Have a shovel nearby to keep hot embers in check, and to help extinguish the fire at the end of the evening.
    • Children should always be under adult supervision, and not be permitted to tend the fire.
    • Fireworks and alcohol do not mix well at bonfires, and should not be allowed near the open flame.
    • Keep a first aid kit on hand for minor injuries like splinters, scratches, and burns.
    • Keep a cell phone on hand for calling 9-1-1 for larger injuries or to report an out-of-control fire.

    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

    OSU Ag Safety programs can be accessed at contact Dee Jepsen at or 614-292-6008.

  7. Safe Combine Operation During Harvest

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety and Health Coordinator

    As we continue to progress further into harvest season, the continuous activity, diminished daylight and stresses that can be associated with harvest can often lead to agricultural related injuries. It takes multiple pieces of equipment working simultaneously to have an efficient harvest season and no piece of equipment is more important than the combine.  It is important to keep safety in the forefront when operating or working around the combine and combine safety starts with the operator.  Combine operators should consider these guidelines during harvest:

    - Follow the procedures in the operator’s manual for safe operation, maintenance, dealing with blockages and other problems.

    - Check all guards are in position and correctly fitted before starting work. Do not run the combine with the guards raised or removed.

    - Keep equipment properly maintained and insure equipment has adequate lighting for working in low light conditions

    - Reduce the risk of falls by ensuring access ladders, steps, or standing platforms are clean and free of mud or debris.

    - Never carry passengers on the combine unless seated in a passenger seat and do not mount or dismount the combine when it is moving.

    - Make sure to keep cab windows clean and mirrors are properly adjusted. Operator vision to the rear may be poor so be particularly careful when reversing.

    - Keep the cab door shut to keep out dust and reduce noise. Ensure any pedestrians are clear of the combine before moving.

    - Be alert to your surroundings. Know where other equipment is being positioned and be observant to individuals who may be walking around the equipment. Maintain eye contact and communicate your intentions with the other person.

    - When unloading the combine on the move, you will need to plan and coordinate your movements carefully to match the tractor/grain cart working with you.

    -  Remember the hazards posed by straw choppers and spreaders – allow adequate rundown time before approaching the rear of the combine.

    - Do not operate the machine beyond its capacity or overload it.

    - Regularly clean straw and chaff deposits from the engine compartment and around belts or pulleys to reduce risk of fire.

    - Carry suitable fire extinguishers. These should be regularly checked and properly maintained/ serviced.

    - Use extreme caution when working around overhead power lines, especially when extending the unloading auger or bin extensions.

    - Follow correct procedures when transferring the header on and off the header cart, or working under the header (use the manufacturer’s safety supports).

    - Utilize safe travel routes between fields, and take into account overhead height and roadway width clearances. 

    - Pre-plan road travel to account for potential problems with automobile traffic. Utilize escort vehicles when needed.

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

  8. Fire Safety for Agritourism Operations

    Dee Jepsen – State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

    Autumn is a season to be particularly alert for fires. During this season, we decorate our homes and businesses with dried fall foliage, light additional candles, burn yard leaves, and take in star gazing around bonfires.

    For fall agritourism venues, fire safety is especially important. These businesses take precautions to keep their visitors safe. However, it is also important for the visitors to share the responsibility to protect themselves from potential fires, and obey the rules set by these venues.

    Fire safety practices at agritourism venues include:

    • Have parking lots at least 75 feet away from dried fields and corn mazes. Vehicles should not be permitted to park in fields that contain any dried plant debris or corn fodder.

    • Do not allow smoking in or around corn or straw mazes. Signs should be prominently posted to alert visitors of the dangers. Visitors should obey these signs, and smoke only in designated areas,  if available.

    • Place fire extinguishers near the maze and inside buildings. Make sure employees have access to these extinguishers and have been trained to use them.

    • Maintain farm machinery – especially those used for hayrides – and have them carry 5lb fire extinguishers.

    • Have a first aid kit available for employees and visitors, and train workers for basic first aid and CPR.

    • Have an emergency response plan to handle fire or weather-related emergencies. Communicate this plan with employees for rapid response and evacuation. The plan can contain locations of first aid kits and fire extinguishers. The plan will also identify the emergency contacts.

    • Prior to the opening season, Agritourism operations are encouraged to invite their local fire department to the location. This serves several purposes: to review their fire safety plan; to inspect their fire extinguishers or refer them to a fire safety service for inspections; and to review access of entrance and exits in the event an emergency vehicle is called to the scene.

    The important message is for everyone to be aware of fire hazards. Having prevention strategies in place will reduce the potential for fires.

    Have a safe and enjoyable time at the local pumpkin patch and outdoor fall venue.

    For more information, visit OSU Ag Safety at contact Dee Jepsen at or 614-292-6008.

  9. Extension Disaster Education Network

    Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

    The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) is among the USDA NIFA’s tactical sciences programs established to assist in protecting the U.S. food and agricultural system against threats from pests, diseases, contaminants, and disasters. EDEN fosters collaboration between extension educators with varying specializations from all across the U.S. There are 300+ technical specialists and educators that contribute research-based resources to the collective offering a presence in all phases of disaster. It is a vital resource for local recovery when information is essential in guiding timely establishment of partnerships and roles for guidance through the turmoil that follows disaster. EDEN also has a host of disaster preparation and mitigation materials to guide communities before disaster hits or during the rebuilding cycle at the far side of a disaster where there is potential for recurrence. Resources are easily accessible for extension educators across the country, no matter how remote the area. You can find information about the water requirements for cattle following a disaster or proper sandbagging techniques for use during flooding. Need information on how to seek humanitarian aid for your local community during the recovery process or how to prevent mold? EDEN has the educational resources to guide you. Stop by the EDEN website to explore,

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