Ag Safety STAT: Safety Through the Seasons 2022

Ag Safety S.T.A.T. – Safe Tactics for Ag Today is prepared by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety & Health Team. 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 jepsen.4@osu.edu.

  1. Deliver Your Hay to the Market Safely

    Load of hay ready to transport.

    Richard PurdinOSU Extension, Adams County ANR/CD Educator

    Spring 2022 has been a wet spring and forage producers have had a challenge to harvest forage crops at the proper timing to capture quality. With all the delays farmers have still managed to harvest their hay crop between the spring rains. As a hay producer myself I feel very rushed these days to not only harvest the hay but also getting the hay in the barn before the next rain. As with any chore, rushing can equal disaster! From rushing harvest and putting wet hay in the barn to hauling an unsecure load down the highway. Today’s farming operations cover multiple farm acreage away from the home farm, meaning that traveling state highways, county roadways, and township roadways with equipment and truck and trailers is essential. Forage producers that do not feed the hay they produce to livestock will sale the hay at a local auction house, this means hay will have to be loaded on a trailer or wagon of some sort and transported to the auction site. There are multiple processes hay can be baled, small square, large square, large round, and small round bales. The size and shape of the bale can make a significant difference in how one should secure and transport to the market. It is hard enough to load the hay once, but it is even harder to load the hay twice, especially on a busy highway. Here are some steps to safely secure and transport your load of hay to the market.

    1. Load the hay safely- Make sure the truck and trailer or wagon is in a level spot with room to maneuver loading equipment. Make sure the vehicle hooked to the trailer is in park. 
    2. Read the trailer weight limits- Before loading any bales make sure you know your trailer or wagons weight limit and read and check tire pressure to know the weight bearing capacity of the trailer tires. It might be a good idea to check the weight of the bales before loading if possible.
    3. Keep load heights low to avoid possible overhead obstructions- According to ODOT a permitted vehicle and load must not exceed 14ft, check out https://www.transportation.ohio.gov/working/publications/shp-op-guide#:~:text=The%20permitted%20vehicle%20and%20load,of%20the%20Ohio%20Revised%20Code to learn more about load restrictions in Ohio.
    4. Keep others safe- Make sure farm workers helping with loading process can hear each other and keep at a safe distance when loading with a machine.
    5. No riders allowed- In small square bale production it can be tempting to ride on a load of hay from the field to the barn, but this can be extremely dangerous, leading to injury or even death. Do not allow workers to ride on a unsecure or even a secured load.
    6. Is your trailer or wagon road ready- Making sure the trailer or wagon is equipped with the proper reflector, slow moving vehicle sign (for wagons) and signal/warning lights work properly. Take time to adjust the braking system that trailers are equipped with, allowing for safe stopping. Always have safety breakaway chains attached to the pulling vehicle. If you are pulling a wagon, make sure to use the proper sized hitch pin WITH A SAFETY KEY, hitch pins have a tendency of working out of the drawbar or receiver hitch.
    7. Avoid wide load- try to avoid loading or hauling wide loads, this is any load 10ft or greater. If the load is wider than 10ft think about having someone drive as an escort vehicle.
    8. Follow the rules of the road- It sounds simple but when you are in a hurry it can be easy to forget you are hauling thousands of pounds. Dive at a safe speed (check tire specification for speed limit loaded) and avoid taking curves too fast. Stop every so often to check tie down straps to make sure they have not loosened on long trips.

    The price of hay this season is strong, avoid rush and take time to secure your load of hay so you can enjoy the bounty of your hard work and avoid causing an accident or injury on the roadway. Happy hay harvest!

    To learn more about transporting hay safely check out these useful resources.

    https://extension.psu.edu/safely-making-and-handling-large-package-hay-baleshttps://agsafety.osu.edu/towed-implement-lighting-markinghttps://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/aex-59115

    Richard Purdin, ANR/CD Educator Adams County, can be reached at 937-544 2339 or purdin.19@osu.edu. This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team. https://agsafety.osu.edu/.

  2. Have No Fear..Honey Bee Swarms are Near

    Beth Scheckelhoff, ANR Educator Putnam County

    Honey bee swarms are common this time of year. They often go unnoticed because swarms do not stick around for very long, usually one to three days at most. A honey bee swarm is a natural process of one hive splitting into two. As a honey bee colony grows within a hive, it becomes crowded. The bees instinctively begin to nurture a new queen while preparing for the current queen to leave. 

    Once she is ready, the existing queen leaves the hive in search of a new location for her colony.  She takes hundreds to thousands of worker bees (all female) and some drones (all male) with her, and together, these form a swarm.

    Worker bees that are good at foraging for food are called scout bees. Scout bees find a suitable place for the queen to rest until they go off and identify a more permanent location to call home. The queen is often led to a tree or shrub branch or another object not too far from the original hive. Worker bees follow, milling around her to keep her safe and warm. 

    honey bee swarm

    Scout bees search for an ideal location to begin the new hive. The swarm will stay put until the scouts report back and signal that they have located a suitable new home. While the honey bees wait, the swarm can be collected and relocated. If the swarm is not collected and left alone, it will move on once the suitable nesting site has been identified. This can take one to several days.

    During this time, homeowners should not fear. Honey bees in a swarm are generally docile. They do not have growing brood in a hive to protect and are simply keeping the queen comfortable. Have patience, and the swarm will move on within a few days. If you are concerned about a bee swarm, however, please contact your local extension office, a local beekeeper, or a beekeeping association. Most extension offices have a list of local beekeepers that will happily collect bee swarms. In most cases, beekeepers will travel to collect the swarm at no cost to you.

    Once the swarm reaches its new home – whether that be a hollowed-out tree or a beekeeper’s hive box, the colony will begin to grow as the queen lays new eggs.

    If you have an interest in honey bees or other types of bees, you may wish to check out the Ohio State University’s Bee Lab website: u.osu.edu/beelab. It is full of information on bees of all types – including honey bees and native bees. There are many presentations posted as well for you to watch and learn about all things bees!

    Beth Scheckelhoff, ANR Educator Putnam County, can be reached at scheckelhoff.11@osu.edu or 419-523-6294This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team. https://agsafety.osu.edu/.

  3. Roadway Safety During Crop Scouting Activities

    Dee Jepsen, Professor and State Agricultural Safety Leader

    Taking a drive through the countryside can be an enjoyable leisure activity. When you drive as part of your job, it takes on additional attention towards safety and roadway courtesy. For agronomists employed with an agricultural business, it may also mean abiding by a company policy. This article serves as a reminder for consultants and others who drive and frequently park in rural areas, related to crop scouting activities. 

    Company policy:

    Always check with your employer for policy regarding vehicle operation. While each company may vary, some of the common rules may include:

    • Restrictions on the number of persons permitted in a company vehicle or persons permitted to drive a company vehicle.

    • Drivers are bound to follow all traffic laws, i.e wearing a seat belt, following posted speed limits, signaling when making turns, never carrying passengers in the cargo area of pickup trucks, and others.

    • Refrain from any type of distracted driving, which includes phone calls, texting, and computer use.

     

    Best practices for courteous vehicle operation:

    Customer relations is an important aspect of the job. Being considerate of your driving and parking habits goes a long way for your clients.

    • Drive slowly when entering their driveways and barn lots. A speed of 5mph is a good rule of thumb, but even that may be too fast if there are poor driveway conditions, children, workers, livestock or pets on the premises.

    • Do not park in barnyard areas that affect normal traffic patterns of the driveway or block access to farm buildings and homestead areas.

    • When parking on the roadway, do your best to pull completely off the roadway. Park in high visibility areas avoiding curves or dips in the road that obstruct the sight line. 

    • Use flashing lights to warn of a parked vehicle along the roadway when this is a short-term stop. Be aware of how long you leave on the flashers, as it will affect your vehicle’s battery life.

    • For longer parking stops, look for an area of a field where there is semi access designed for vehicles. Pay attention to field conditions, i.e water-logged areas, holes, and fence lines. 

    • Know the property lines when assessing fields and avoid parking and/or driving on property of other owners.

    • Consider backing the vehicle into areas that you will want to pull out of later. This is especially helpful when accessing field driveways from a public road.

    • Identify fields or farms that are centralized to the area(s) you want to access. Find a place that you know is safe from other moving vehicles and secure from possible theft.

     

    Field safety:

    When accessing a field that is actively utilized by the farm operation, consider these practices:

    • Stand clear of field equipment and field operations.

    • Know and utilize hand signals to communicate with equipment operators.

    • Be cautious of fields that had recent spray applications and adhere to posted re-entry interval signage.

     

    Roadway safety for agronomist scouts is an important component to keep injuries low and property damage at a minimum. As field activity picks up for the 2022 crop season, be aware of operating your motor vehicle in a safe and courteous manner on every drive.

    This article is provided by the OSU Agricultural Safety and Health ProgramDee Jepsen, Professor, can be reached at jepsen.4@osu.edu; and Lisa Pfeifer, Program Manager, can be reached at pfeifer.6@osu.edu. Their website can be accessed at https://agsafety.osu.edu/

  4. CDL Update

    Amanda Douridas, ANR Educator Madison County

    OSU Extension recently hosted State Highway Patrol officers and a local Sherriff’s Department to discuss the recent CDL changes and answer general farm hauling questions for a program offered jointly to Delaware, Madison, and Union counties. The take aways from the Q&A are summarized below.

    Required Course

    Any new person trying to obtain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) must now take a course which typically runs 5-6 days a week for 4-5 weeks and costs $4,000-6,000. For example, Clark State College runs Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. for 4 weeks and costs $5,500. 

    Are Farmers Exempt?

    The big question – are farmers exempt from needing a CDL? The answer of course is it depends. Farmers are exempt from having a CDL and medical card when hauling commodities or equipment used to raise crops within 150 miles of his/her farm. If hauling further than that or going to pick up a piece of machinery outside of that range, farmers are required to have a CDL, medical card, USDOT# and log.

    Livestock going to market are exempt 150 miles from the farm and 150 miles from the processor for a total of 300 miles. 

    CDLs are Based on Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

    Any vehicle or vehicle combo over 26,000lbs requires a CDL if being used for commercial purposes. A pickup truck rated at 14,000lbs towing a gooseneck trailer rated at 14,000lbs requires a CDL if hauling anything other than farm commodities or equipment. Private for-hire vehicles between 10,001 -26,000lbs do not require a CDL but you must have a medical card, USDOT# and keep a log if traveling over 150 miles.  

    What Items Require a CDL

    If a farmer hauls something other than farm commodities, then a CDL is required. This includes gravel, scrap metal and dirt. Take caution when hauling equipment. If it is a piece that could have non-farm uses, such as a bulldozer or backhoe, you may get pulled over and questioned. Your answers to the questions will determine whether the troopers deem you exempt. 

    Recreational activities such as hauling campers (to go camping, not for a business) and show animals (non-business) are exempt from all requirements. However, if you go pick up a bull in another state for your farm business, and travel beyond 150 miles, you are no longer exempt.

    Another item of note is that farm permits are available for oversized vehicles through the Ohio Department of Transportation. 

    Still Have More Questions

    For additional information, explore the resources available under Roadway and Equipment Law on the Farm Office website: https://farmoffice.osu.edu/our-library/roadway-and-equipment-law or reach out to your local state highway patrol post with specific questions.

  5. When the Rain Won’t Let Up

    Bridget Britton, Behavioral Health Field Specialist

    Each morning when waking up recently it feels as though we look out the window and it is either raining or has rained overnight. Farmers are natural meteorologists and are in tune with what is going on with the weather any given hour of the day.   According to Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension climatologist, there has been measurable rainfall all but 3 days so far in the month of April. Wet weather and planting delays are sources of additional stress. Though we can’t know for sure when the fields will dry up enough to plant, there are things you can do to keep some of the stress from overwhelming you.

    •    Get moving: This is normally when the physical activity starts ramping up. You might not be out busy in the fields yet but start prepping your body and mind now by doing whatever exercise you enjoy to get in the right mindset.  This “exercise” might include working on equipment, cleaning your shop, or catching up on things you’ve been putting off.

    •    Make time for laughs: Have you ever heard laughter is the best medicine? Well, it might not be the best, but it can help. Make sure you find time to spend with your funny family member or employee. You know who they are.

    •    Stay away from unhealth coping mechanisms: If you are like me stress eating is easy to do, but instead of overeating try playing a game, calling a friend, or spending time with nature. An increase in unhealthy habits such as alcohol use can contribute to farm accidents, and could negatively impact you, your family, and your farm business.

    •    Take a look at long term goals and plans: Though you would rather be out in the fields, with all the rain this may be a good time to examine the future of the farm. Talk with family and employees about any improvements or goals you have for the future. Making sure everyone is on the same page is crucial. Often as planting season begins little time is left for any of these types of conversations.

    •    Help yourself and others during stressful times:  Make time during the wet days and evenings for check-ins with family and friends. This can support not only them but you during this stressful time. No one should have to suffer alone if they may be feeling any type of anxiety or sadness. While you are waiting for the rain to pass this is a great time to spend some time off the farm and each other’s company.

    Remember you are more than your farm. We need you to be healthy both physically and mentally. Reach out if you or someone you know may be struggling. There are resources available at go.osu.edu/farmstress or reach out to your local extension office. If someone is in crisis there is the free and confidential crisis line at 1-800-273-8255.

    References:

    Brotherson, S. (2017). Stress Management for Farmers/Ranchers. Retrieved from https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/kids-family/farm-stress-fact-sheets-stress-management-for-farmers-ranchers.

    Donham, K. J., & Thelin, A. (2016). Agricultural Medicine: Rural Occupational and Environmental Health, Safety, and Prevention. (2nd ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

    Edenfield, T. M., & Blumenthal, J. A. (2011). Exercise and stress reduction. The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health, 301-319.

    National Institute of Mental Health (2016). Depression. Retrieved from www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression.

  6. Winter’s Indoor Risk: Carbon Monoxide

    Sabrina Schirtzinger, ANR Educator Knox County

    With colder temperatures we tend to spend more time indoors. For some winter may be when you clean up your shop/garage, finish a project or start a new one. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a concern when you are in confined areas and equipment that burns fuel are in use. 

    Carbon Monoxide (CO) as a gas emits no color or odor and is very common in many U.S. homes, office, garages, and agricultural shops. Especially during the winter months. CO is produced when fuels are burned, such as: kerosene, gasoline, propane, natural gas, fuel oil, wood, and charcoal. Other commonly used items omitting CO are automobiles, gas-powered generators, furnaces, and chimneys. 

    Be aware of the symptoms associated with CO poisoning: 

    1. Headaches
    2. Dizziness
    3. Nausea
    4. Vomiting
    5. Irregular breathing 
    6. Feeling ill 
    7. Tired 

    How to protect yourself on the farm: 

    1. Don’t burn coal or run a generator indoors or in an enclosed space. 
    2. Never use gas-powered engine indoors. 
    3. Never start or leave running tracks, trucks, and other gas-powered machines in an enclosed area, or near an area where the gas can collect and be concentrated. 
    4. Install approves carbon monoxide alarms in area where gas powered engines are used. 
    5. Annual inspect chimney’s, furnaces, and gas- powered engines for blockages, corrosion, leaks, or loose connections. 
    6. Warm up our vehicles in open spaces, either open the garage door or outside the garage.

    If you are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, the alarm on your carbon monoxide detector sounds, one should immediately leave the building and call 9-1-1.  

    Sabrina Schirtzinger, ANR Educator Knox County, can be reached at 740-397-0401 or Schirtzinger.55@osu.eduThis column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team, https://agsafety.osu.edu/.

     

    Sources: 

    Nationwide Ag Insight Center. (n.d). Use these tips to help avoid and recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Available at https://www.nationwide.com/lc/resources/farm-and-agribusiness/articles/dangers-of-carbon-monoxide-poisoning

  7. Grain Bin Safety Week: Safety Assessment Questions

    Lisa Pfeifer – Educational Program Manager, Ag Safety and Health Program

    Preparedness is a concept with which we are all familiar. We learn where and how to exit a building in the event of a fire in grade school and that learning continues to build from there. You may note an exit sign above the door of a building you enter, subconsciously marking a route out in the event of an emergency. You may assess alternative routes of vehicular travel when a roadway becomes flooded. You may look for an elevator when you take your elderly mother to visit her doctor because you know stairs have become difficult. You may look for a map kiosk at the trailhead as you set out on a hike at the nature preserve. Actions, thoughts, and assessment like those above are a part of preparedness, regardless of the depth of that specific planning. Our brains file away information in split-seconds constantly. Reflect on your daily work and movement about the farm. What occurs to you? Do you recognize – no exit signs exist, no directional or roadway markers are present, there is not a property or building map to be found? Think about the lack of wayfinding on the farm the next time you leave the back door of the house to head for the barn or field?

    Take this framework a step further. Think about working in and around grain on the farm. How will someone rescue you or an employee in the event of a grain emergency. Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) are an integral piece of pre-planning for unexpected events at any time or for any situation, but in grain related incidents they can be a vital tool. EAPs or preparedness documents assist to save time for first responders when it is crucial and may ultimately be life-saving for a victim or rescuer.

    Many first responders have no frame of reference for agriculture. A first responder that arrives to a farm in a grain rescue situation may not be familiar with many of the pieces of equipment involved. Family members that have never operated the equipment might not have any idea where to begin to shut everything down. Keeping employees and family abreast of the operating equipment and arming them with the resources to move quickly in the event of an emergency is a process that should not be overlooked. Knowledge is power.

    Take measures to educate not only farm employees and family members, but also first responders that could be called upon in the event of an emergency on your property.

    The farm operator is often familiar with all processes involved in grain storage and handling at an operation, but is there anyone else who is aware of every step, electrical source, or hazard at your facility?

    Review your procedures for working in and around grain and think about how you can educate family members and employees of all hazards that may exist from beginning to end. Establish a protocol of safety specific to grain handling and clearly communicate that to everyone that could be of assistance in the event of an emergency.

    Below you will find a list of questions to consider that should help you assess the preparedness level of your own farm and employees. To establishing an EAP for grain handling and storage at your own operation please ask yourself:

    • Is the farm property easy to navigate and understand or is a map needed for anyone that would be called to the grain storage site in the event of an emergency? Think about how a neighbor, an employee, your spouse, your child, or a first responder could get to you if you were suddenly engulfed in grain.
    • Do you always have a cell phone with you? Who would you call if you were stuck waist deep in grain and could not move? Would that person know what to do and how to do it?
    • Is there any overhead wiring that would present a hazard for rescue vehicles in the event that first responders are called to respond to an emergency at your farm property? If there is, how could you plan accordingly to eliminate danger to the victim engulfed inside the bin or responders trying to gain access to assist in the rescue?
    • Do you have a procedure for de-energizing equipment for all mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic components that operate inside or around grain storage confinement spaces? What steps can you take to ensure that potential electrical contact is eliminated and draw-off or sweep augers do not start with anyone inside the grain storage structure? Do you lock out and tag equipment whenever you enter? Would a neighbor, an employee, your spouse, your child, or a first responder know how to de-energize all equipment? Is there a way you can ensure they do have that knowledge?
    • Do you have an entry process for entering bins on your farm? Do you use a tie-off system? Do you ensure no one ever works in grain alone? Do you have a spotter when you enter a bin and does that person know how to get help and shutdown all equipment?
    • Do you have schematics of your bin storage system? Would those assist rescuers in the event of an emergency? Where are those documents stored? Who else knows where to find such documents?
    • Where is the nearest rescue tube located? Would that fire department be notified in the event of an emergency at your grain storage location? Have the first responders of the responding department been trained in grain rescue? Does anyone on the responding team know your property first hand?

    Take some preparedness steps today. Print a google map of your farm or draw one by hand, labeling all equipment involved in grain handling. Buy a lock to lockout power sources for grain handling equipment. Purchase a harness and tie off system for your bin. Check with local emergency rescue teams to find out what rescue jurisdiction your property falls within and where the nearest grain rescue tube is located.  Invite the responding department for a site visit of your property and allow them to practice their rescue procedures at your facility. Any pre-incident planning can help cut response time in the event of an emergency. Put a plan in place and communicate it. Stay safe.

    For more information about OSU Ag Safety, visit https://agsafety.osu.edu/ or contact Lisa Pfeifer, OSU Agricultural Safety & Health, at pfeifer.6@osu.edu or 614-292-9455.

  8. Safe Equipment Operation During the Winter

    Tractor steps covered with ice and snow.

    Richard PurdinOSU Extension, Adams County ANR/CD Educator

    When winter weather strikes it can cause a lot of stress on farmers. Farm equipment is essential in today’s agriculture production setting. Safe operation of farm equipment is important no matter what time of year and wintertime is no exception. When it comes to winter injuries on the farm slipping on ice, frost bite, snow blindness or back injuries due to shoveling snow might come to mind. This article will cover yet another area of concern during the winter months, equipment related injuries and how they can be avoided.

    There are multiple ways a farmer can get hurt operating machinery during the winter. Below is a short list of some ways you could potentially get injured operating farm equipment when snow, ice, and frigid temperatures roll in.

    • Entering and exiting motorized farm equipment- This can be a potential hazard year-round but during the winter the risk increases especially when steps and handrails are covered in ice and snow. During the winter it is expected that one would be wearing mutable layers of clothing, making it challenging to get through small doors or cab openings. This can especially true when entering and exiting skid loaders or forklift vehicles. Taking time to clean steps and remove snow or ice before mounting is important. Always dismount equipment going down the steps facing the equipment, never jump off equipment and use rails or handles for support.
    • Worn out tires or tracks- We often think about changing our worn car tires before winter, this should be considered for our equipment too. Worn out tractor or skid loader tires can increase the chances of slipping or causing collision damage to equipment. Making sure tires have good tread when operating machinery on concrete or roadways will help avoid incidents, injuries, or potential death.
    • Make sure Equipment safety features are work properly- Operating equipment on the road is hazardous year-round but during the winter slippery road conditions, poor visibility, and slower hydraulic movement can increase risks of roadway incidents. Make sure all hazard flashers, lights, and the slow moving vehicle sign are in place and visible to other motorist on the road. Driving slowly is important too. During the winter hydraulic systems such as brakes, steering, and traction controls can have delayed response on tractors and other farm equipment (especially older equipment). Take your time and operate at a safe speed.
    • Maintain Equipment- Proper equipment operation is important no matter what the season. Winter maintenance for farm equipment may require adjusting grade of engine oil, engine cooling fluids, or tire pressure. It is always a good practice to take time and inspect hydraulic and heating and cooling hoses for cracks and/or leaky fittings. Maintaining a ½ of tank or more of fuel will prevent fuel line freezing or gelling. Proper lubrication of universal joints and high wear areas is also critical for preventing breakdowns. Allowing equipment engines to warm before operating can maximize machinery performance and longevity.

    Winter can be challenging. Safely operating and maintaining your equipment this winter season might not make spring come any faster, but it just might allow you to begin spring in good health and with properly working equipment to boot!

    For more information go to - ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/aex-59115, ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/aex-892280, and ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/aex-59111.

    Richard Purdin, ANR/CD Educator Adams County, can be reached at 937-544 2339 or purdin.19@osu.edu. This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team, agsafety.osu.edu.

  9. On Thin Ice? Ice Safety Tips for Outdoor Activities

    Beth Scheckelhoff, ANR Extension Educator Putnam County

    Rivers, lakes, and backyard ponds across Ohio are finally freezing.  While these newly frozen surfaces seem perfect for winter outdoor activities like skating, sledding, ice fishing, or snowmobiling - please remember that no ice is 100% safe.  The following ice safety tips are meant to be shared with those that venture outdoors and onto Ohio’s ice.

    Not all ice is created equal. The safety and strength of ice is affected by the size of the water body, water chemistry, currents, snow cover, local climatic conditions, and numerous other factors. Generally, “new”, clear ice is stronger than “old”, white ice that has undergone freezing, thawing, and refreezing. 

    In all cases, the thickness of the ice layer must be determined before venturing out upon it.  How does one measure the thickness of ice? First, use an ice pick, axe, hatchet, an ice testing pole, or a cordless drill with a long bit or auger to cut into the ice layer. Next, measure the thickness of the ice layer with a tape measure, or use the cutting tool where the desired distance has been marked with tape, paint, or by another method. 

    If the ice layer is less than 4” thick, do not attempt to walk on it. The minimum thickness for new, clear ice is 4inches for travel on foot, 5 inches for snowmobiles and ATVs, and 8 to 15 inches for cars or small trucks.  If the ice is old or covered by snow (also called “white ice”), these thickness recommendations should be doubled.

    Ice safety graphic showing the thickness of ice needed to ensure safety before participating in winter activities on frozen water.

    Also keep in mind that ice does not freeze uniformly across a body of water. For this reason, check the thickness at regular intervals (at least every 100-150 feet) to ensure safety. Additional safety guidelines include wearing a life-vest or inflatable snowsuit and carrying a pair of ice-safety picks (screwdrivers or large nails work as well) and a rope. 

    If you are on thin ice and it cracks beneath you, lie on your stomach, and spread your arms and legs out. Stretch your arms over your head and roll away from the crack. This spreads your weight over the ice to prevent you from breaking through.  

    If you fall through ice, turn toward the direction you came from and remain calm. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface and, using your ice picks, work yourself forward onto the ice by kicking your feet.  Once on the ice, do not stand but instead roll away from the hole as described above.  

    If someone you are with falls through the ice, do not run towards them. Stay calm and call 911.  Use your rope or look for something that could pull the person from the broken ice such as a tree limb, a ski, or jacket. 

    For more information on ice safety, please visit ODNR’s Winter Recreation Safety Information

    Beth Scheckelhoff, Extension Educator – Agriculture and Natural Resources in Putnam County, can be reached at 419-523-6294 or Scheckelhoff.11@osu.edu. This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team. https://agsafety.osu.edu

  10. Working in Cold Temperatures

    Warm weather turned to cooler, wet, and muddy weather and now cold weather has arrived to stay for a few months.  It is interesting to note that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) documents that there are more deaths in the United States due to cold weather exposure (hypothermia) than hot weather exposure (hyperthermia) each year.  The CDC has also tracked an average of 1,300 deaths per year in the US due to hypothermia. 

    Many jobs are affected little with the change in temperature outside, but others do not have that luxury.  Occupations such as agriculture (and others) work outside a great deal no matter what the conditions.  Helpful reminders are often beneficial to keep safe while accomplishing these tasks.

    Everyone responds to cold weather and temperature extremes in general very differently.  It is what we are “used to” and what we can “tolerate”.  What Alaskans think of as cold in January may be quite different than what we perceive as cold in the lower 48.  Specific contributing factors may also affect a person’s susceptibility to cold temperatures such as getting wet, exhaustion, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and general poor physical condition.

    General good practices for working in cold weather include:

    • Planning routine maintenance on outdoor equipment for warmer seasons.
    • Let others know where you will be working and when you will return.
    • Dressing in layers so clothing may be added or taken off in specific instances.
    • Keeping dry.  Keep extra dry clothes, gloves, and shoes/boots nearby.
    • Protecting ears, face, hands, feet, and head.  Extremities away from the body core have less blood flow and are more difficult to keep warm.
    • Taking breaks in warm locations. 
    • Staying hydrated.  Not often thought of as an issue in cold weather, but just as important.

    In some cases, cold-related illness and injuries will occur.  It is important to know the symptoms so you can watch yourself and others for signs.

    Hypothermia:

    • Body loses heat faster than it can be produced.
    • Symptoms are shivering, fatigue, confusion, disorientation.
    • Can be mild to severe depending on symptoms.

    Frostbite:

    • Actual freezing of tissue.
    • Symptoms are numbness, stinging, or pain and top layer of skin feeling hard and rubbery.
    • Wear appropriate clothing and seek medical attention if symptoms remain after 30 minutes.

    Trench foot:

    • Feet lose heat due to cold or wetness too long and tissue becomes damaged.
    • Symptoms include swelling and pain in the feet.  Differs from frostbite in that the skin does not actually freeze.
    • Keep feet warm and dry.

    Cold weather injuries are preventable.  Take the time to make the necessary plans for yourself and your workers to stay warm and dry and safely get the job done.

    Wayne Dellinger, ANR Educator Union County, can be reached at 937-644-8117 ex. 3024 or dellinger.6@osu.edu. This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team. https://agsafety.osu.edu/.

  11. Willpower: Some Help with New Year’s Resolutions

    Joseph Maiorano, PhD, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Harrison County 

    I imagine that some of you may look forward to something different in 2022. If so, New Year’s resolutions may help you accomplish that goal, but resolutions, sometimes, are easier made than stuck with. For example, thirty percent of people who make New Year's resolutions fail to continue their resolutions beyond February. Some members of that group claimed that they did not have the willpower to continue. In this brief article, I hope to help you better understand willpower. My goal is to help you keep your goals, or New Year’s resolutions.

    Different scholars understand will power differently. For example, based on their research, Matthew Gailliot and his co-authors (2007) conclude that willpower requires glucose. Without adequate glucose, willpower may be unavailable. For example, when persons who resolve to lose weight eat differently, they, by virtue of a changed diet, may reduce their glucose storage. As such, those persons may have little, or no, willpower when needed to help them stay on their weight loss journey. 

    Job, Dweck, and Walton (2010) have different understanding of willpower. These scholars inform us that willpower is a proactive skill. We use willpower to help us prepare for possible difficulties. What follows is some information on using willpower. Use willpower to,

    • modify the environment. Change things to help reduce or eliminate barriers to success. For example, if you resolved to eat more-healthful foods, then you could substitute healthful for unhealthful foods in your pantry and refrigerator. If committed to spending more time with a friend, then you could schedule one afternoon per month to meet your friend for coffee,
    • ready for relapse. Some persons who resolve to do differently may go back to their old ways. Albert Ellis (2016) might encourage you to “Do don’t stew” (p. 112). In other words, instead of fretting at your misstep, forgive yourself, then get back to doing or not doing that which you initially had resolved,
    • create contingency, or after-the-doing, rewards. For instance, after three consecutive months of meeting your friend for coffee, you might reward yourself with a new book, hat, or cologne.

    Instead of trying to muster the pluck to overcome the challenges of sticking with your resolutions, you can proactively use willpower to make a pathway around those challenges. In addition, your successes may help you build confidence that you can continue toward the goal that you had set.

    Joseph Maiorano, FCS Educator Harrison County can be reached at 740-942-8823 or maiorano.2@osu.edu. This article is a part of The Thriving Farmer series authored by Joseph. The Thriving Farmer—information to help farmers and their families make healthful choices. This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team, https://agsafety.osu.edu/.

    Sources

    Ellis, A. (2016). How to stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable about anything, yes anything! New York, NY: Citadel Press.

    Gailliot, M. T., Baumeister, R. F., DeWall, C. N., Maner, J. K., Plant, E. A., Tice, D. M., Brewer, L. E., & Schmeichel, B. J. (2007). Self-control relies on glucose as a limited energy source: willpower is more than a metaphor. Journal of personality and social psychology92(2), 325–336.

    Job V, Dweck CS, Walton GM. (2010). Ego Depletion—Is It All in Your Head?: Implicit Theories About Willpower Affect Self-Regulation. Psychological Science21(11):1686-1693.

    Photo

    hugoisroger. Downloaded on December 10, 2021, from, https://pixabay.com/photos/male-man-model-person-portrait-4462176/