Ag Safety STAT: September 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. Putting Farm Safety into Practice

    Dee Jepsen – State Agricultural Safety and Health Leader

    The National Farm Safety and Health Week is observed every third week of September. This commemorative week has been practiced for 73 years, with the first observation being in 1944 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office. Ohio will celebrate this week on September 17 – 23, 2017.

    The theme “Putting Safety into Practice” reminds us that it is everyone’s responsibility to practice safety – on the farm and on the road. The U.S. Department of Labor calculates the death rate for agricultural workers to be higher than other workforces. Knowing that agriculture is a dangerous industry – this includes farming, forestry and fishing – it is important for workers to practice safety. When safety is a part of our lifestyle and our workplace routine, it becomes a way of life.

    The OSU Agricultural Safety and Health Program promotes this commemorative week, but also has materials available throughout the year. A variety of outreach resources are developed for different farm operations, large or small, and a wide range of workforce ages, including safety messages for children or visitors who may not work on the farm. Many of these resources are provided at no cost on the website. Training programs are also available for agricultural groups and businesses looking for specific workplace issues. The Ag S.T.A.T. monthly newsletter is also a resource for short announcements of upcoming safety events, as well as short safety messages for every season of the year.

    All of these materials are available through the OSU Ag Safety Program website: or on Facebook at OSU Ag Safety and Health.


    Practicing safety is something we all do in agriculture. Having a commemorative week is just a reminder of this, no matter the week or the season.

    For more information, contact Dee Jepsen directly at or 614-292-6008.

  2. Farm Science Review

    Stop out to the Molly Caren Agricultural Center September 19-21 to catch the farm safety displays and demonstrations brought to you by The Ohio State University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program. You can find us in several places within OSU Central, but predominantly located on Kottman St. and Land Ave. Here is a line-up of this year’s activities:

    The Grain C.A.R.T. (Comprehensive Agricultural Rescue Trailer) – Kottman Street
    - Daily demonstrations / programing at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, and 12:00 pm.
    AgrAbility tent – Land Ave between Kottman Street and Market Street
    - Daily Farm modifications workshops:
                10 am Tractor modifications & upgrades
                            Cameras, monitors, tractor seats, steps and more
                11 am Shop and Barn Modifications
                            LED lights, automated doors and gates, ergonomic tools and modified workspace
    - Daily Professional Development workshops
                1:30 pm: Ohio AgrAbility Program - Education, Assessment and Outreach
          Ohio AgrAbility program referrals, work process, program information, partnerships, educational      opportunities, and client-based Universal Design solutions. Open workshop for Extension, Rural          Health, Disability professionals and community advocates.
    - Vendors on display - Life Essentials, K & M Equipment, Power EZ, McCabe Equipment, disABILITY Work      Tools, Propel Doors, and MC Mobility
    New exhibits inside the Power Show building – corner of Kottman and Land Ave
    - Farm Safety Scene hazard hunt
    - ATV roll protection bar and helmets for UTV’s
    - Safety in Agriculture for Youth (SAY) project will offer a free bottle of water for information about how youth are hired in agriculture.
    Universal Design Garage – inside the McCormick Building
    - Interactive Universal Design (UD) house & garage highlight the increased safety, efficiency and ease of use from applying UD principles to your living and work spaces. Solutions, examples, and tools for incorporating UD principles into your farmstead, worksite and garage.
    Utzinger Gardens – Friday Avenue
    - Take in the beauty of the gardens while learning ways to stay fit and active with gardening tips from the Ohio AgrAbility program Gardening with Arthritis presentation Tuesday and Thursday at 10 am.
    Small Farms Center Building – Corner of Equipment Ave. and Beef St.
    - Gardening and Farming with Arthritis - It doesn't have to hurt - Wednesday at 10:30 am
  3. CDC Life Stages & Populations

    Watching the disaster recovery missions in Texas reminds us all of the devastation natural disasters bring to a community. People with disabilities often face additional obstacles that impede the speed with which they can seek shelter or be rescued. The CDC has compiled resources on an “Emergency Readiness for People with Disabilities” page to help in preparedness. Whether you are a person with a disability, a caregiver, or a first responder there is information at the ready by clicking on,

  4. Don’t let arthritis or chronic pain stop you from gardening: Raised, vertical and elevated beds and container gardens

    Laura Akgerman Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility

    If you have chronic pain or physical limitations, kneeling, bending or stooping to tend your garden may be difficult or impossible. Raising your garden with elevated or raised beds, using walls and trellises for vertical gardens, or using containers or hanging gardens could reduce your need to stop or bend, and make gardening accessible for you.  A few points to consider are that gardens that are not in the ground may require more watering, and soil and plants can stain concrete, wood siding or other wall or flooring surfaces, be careful where you plant your garden.

    This article includes links to instructions to build your own raised or elevated beds, as well as where to purchase products. Ohio AgrAbility does not endorse or support any of the items listed, and has not reviewed or tested the instructions for building beds or containers.

    Raised or elevated beds

    A raised or elevated bed is typically a wood framed structure that raises the garden bed off the ground one foot or higher.  Depending on the need and mobility of the gardener, it could be raised a few feet off the ground, to minimize stooping or bending. It could also be built with a wide enough frame that it could be used as a seat, to allow the gardener to sit and tend it. Before building a frame that will act as a seat, consider that the gardener would have to sit on the frame and twist at the waist to tend the garden, which may be uncomfortable, and could cause strain or injury.

    Beds can also be built to waist height, which would allow the gardener to stand or lean on the bed and work without bending. If you use a wheelchair or mobility device, the bed could be built like a table with leg room underneath, which would allow you to roll up to the bed and access the garden, just like sitting at the dinner table.  If you don’t use a mobility device, but would like to sit while gardening, you could use a chair to sit at the garden bed and work.

    Before building or purchasing a raised, consider the height and depth of the bed. If the bed is against a wall, be sure that you can comfortably reach the back of the bed without straining or over-reaching. If the bed is free standing, it can be deeper, but you still want to be sure you can reach the middle of the bed comfortably. If you or someone else who will use the raised bed has limited or no feeling in arms & legs you will have to be careful that the wood or materials used to build the bed are smooth, and won’t cause abrasions or splinters.

    Instructions for building raised beds can be found online. If you don’t want to build one, you can buy one that is already assembled.

    Container gardens

    A container garden can be a window box, potted plant, an old dresser, or any other container you have. You can sit tall containers on the ground, or raise them with a stand, table or plant rack. Ideally the planter will be at least 24” – 36” high. Container gardens work well for people who cannot bend or stoop, as well as people who may not have very much space for a garden. When choosing containers and stands, remember that soil, plants and water are heavy, so be sure the container and stand can handle the weight. If you have it on a raised patio or balcony, be sure the containers are not too heavy for the structure. If you will have to move the container around put it on a rolling stand, or keep the container light enough to be movable. Containers should have one good sized hole for every gallon of soil in the container (for proper drainage). Light colored plastic containers are good, they do not absorb light/heat, and are lightweight.

    Hanging or vertical gardens

    Hanging baskets and vertical gardens are good options if you cannot bend or stoop or have limited space for a garden. If you want to hang your garden plants use lightweight, sturdy baskets and hang them at different heights for ease of watering.  There are a variety of pulley systems available for raising and lowering baskets for watering and tending the plants; the pulley systems have very mixed reviews about their ease of use and usefulness, do your research and read the reviews before you invest in a pulley system.

    Vertical gardens can be a structure or trellis attached to a wall, or plants can be trained to grow up a wall. Wooden pallets are popular for vertical gardens, with a few tools and supplies you could build a pallet garden to hold a variety of plants. If you are planting edible plants, be sure to use wood that has not been chemically treated, as the chemicals could seep into the soil, and the plants. You can use a heat-treated pallet, or build your own.

    You can use a trellis, stakes, poles or other vertical structures for climbing plants, sprawling plants or vines.  If you are using a trellis or other structure that will be attached to the wall, be sure to leave space between the trellis and the wall for air to circulate, to reduce the risk of mold or disease.

    The most important aspect of an accessible raised, elevated, hanging or vertical gardens is that is comfortable and safe for you to use. If you can garden without twisting, bending, stooping or reaching, that garden structure and method are a good fit for you.

    For more information on accessible gardens see Green Thumbs Healthy Joints, from West Virginia University.

    For information about useful products, see the Gardening with Arthritis: Adaptive equipment and tools resource list.

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

  5. Caught-in or Caught-between Objects

    Kent McGuire – OSU Ag Safety & Health Coordinator

    As we progress into harvest season, consider the hazards associated with agricultural equipment.  In some instances farmers can find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, and in a situation to be caught-in or caught-between objects, which can lead to serious injuries. Caught-in or between incidents can occur from some of the following reasons:
    - Working on or around moving equipment
    - Working on equipment with stored energy (Example: Hydraulic cylinder)
    - Inadequate guarding on equipment or guards have been removed exposing moving parts
    - Incorrect hitching practices
    - Not being visible to the equipment operator
    - Unaware of approaching danger in the work environment
    Some guidelines to use to prevent caught-in or caught-between incidents should include:
    - Always shut down equipment before doing repairs or inspecting of equipment.
    - Never work under equipment that is supported only by a jack. Use a secondary support device.
    - Use the cylinder safety locks on equipment that support hydraulic cylinders, to prevent the release of stored energy in the cylinder.
    - After servicing equipment make sure all guards are in place and properly secured
    - When hitching or unhitching equipment, stand to the side, and be clearly visible to the tractor driver.
    - Chock the wheels on equipment that could move or roll.
    - Leave an escape route to prevent getting pinned between two objects.
    - Use extra caution when working around equipment with belts / pulleys: chains / sprockets: or PTO shafts.


    For more information about agricultural safety, visit, or contact Kent McGuire, Safety & Health Coordinator for the OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, at or 614-292-0588.

  6. National Preparedness Month

    Lisa Pfeifer – OSU Ag Safety and Health Education Coordinator

    FEMA launches their “Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can.” campaign for National Preparedness Month. They have may tips to get you thinking about the simple things you can do to get a jump start on an initial needs plan for yourself, family and friends. They break it down into five areas with tips for how to address each one. The following list is how they suggest you start the process:

    • Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can. Make an emergency plan today.
    • Preparing the family for an emergency is as simple as a conversation over dinner. Get started with tips from
    • Download a group texting app so your entire crew can keep in touch before, during & after an emergency.
    • Practice evacuating in the car with your animals, so they’re more comfortable if you need to evacuate in an emergency.
    1. Sign up for alerts and warnings in your area.
    • Get the @fema app with weather alerts for up to 5
    • Sign up for local emergency alerts in your area by searching online.
    1. Learn your evacuation zone and have an evacuation plan.

    2. Check your insurance coverage and review the Document and Insure Property guide.
    1. Plan financially for the possibility of disaster.
    • Protect your identity: watch out for fraud and scams, and keep your personal info secure.
    • Beware of frauds & scams when seeking disaster assistance. Federal/state workers never ask for/accept money and always carry IDs.
    • Financial prep tip: flood-proof important documents by putting them in plastic bags to protect against water damage.
    • Keep some cash on hand in case of emergencies.

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