SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The New York State Agricultural Society recently recognized Du Mond Companies, a diversified crop farm, as the winner of its annual Farm Safety Award. The award recognizes farms that have unique and successful safety programs. Having a comprehensive farm safety program may reduce injuries and downtime, and potentially save the lives of family members and employees. Sponsored by Cargill, Inc., the award includes a $500 check and a commemorative plaque. The award was presented on January 9 at the Ag Society Forum.
Du Mond Companies is operated by Todd Du Mond and a team of 30 dedicated managers and employees. Based in Union Springs, NY, the operation includes a 6,000-acre farm, trucking and feed business which produces GMO and non-GMO feed products. In 2019, they launched a soybean extrusion facility. Safety is not just a philosophy at this diversified agribusiness, it’s practiced at all levels. Given the physical and mental demands of their multiple operations, all team members are encouraged to ask questions and provide input, so they feel safe in every situation or activity
The following describes the many ways Du Mond prioritizes safety in its daily operations:
A safety committee is the backbone of their program. Comprised of all departments, the committee vets issues and input sourced from across the operation. Meetings are held monthly to discuss safety, possible improvements, and plans for employee training presentations. Owner Todd Du Mond is an active participant in the safety committee.
Weekly safety trainings focus on the goal of improving every team member’s understanding of safety concerns and solutions. Topics presented include trip/slip fall hazards, seasonal safety, operational safety, trust and communication in the workplace, mental/emotional safety, good nutrition, and technical safety such as working in and around grain bins in all types of weather. Modules may also be beneficial off the farm when it comes to sleep, safe driving, and good nutrition.
Safety protocols and systems are continuously evolving. Workplace assessments can be filled out after every job or whenever an employee thinks there could be a safer way to do a task. To ensure their input and concerns are heard, employees also have access to a comment/suggestion box where they can anonymously communicate issues.
Investments in safety equipment are given priority, and protocols are used to reinforce safety behaviors. Equipment is operating on the best software available to maximize safety and control in the field. Fire extinguishers, first aid kits, respirators, eyewash, and other safety tools are easily accessible. High visibility uniforms, radios, and staffing to ensure both efficiency and safety are also important elements of the program at Du Mond Companies.
Roadway safety is a high priority for the operation. Before planting, employees receive training on all equipment protocols, chemicals, and protection standards to ensure they feel comfortable both in the field and on the road. When exiting fields, team members are trained to get off equipment and to conduct a thorough visual inspection to check for any dragging, damaged, or broken parts. This ensures their personal safety as well as that of other drivers sharing roadways. It also increases their heart rate to make them more alert after remaining stationary for long periods of time.
In providing this annual award, the New York State Agricultural Society recognizes that the benefits of a planned and meaningful farm safety program do not end with reducing simple injuries and down time; the rewards often include saving lives of family members and employees. Applications for the award should be submitted by September 1. The application can be found at: https://www.nysagsociety.org/forms/view/new-york-farm-safety-award-application/ Up to two farms are selected to receive recognition and a cash award of $500 per farm.
Interested in making safety a greater priority on your farm but unsure where to start? NYCAMH safety specialists are available to come to farms to provide free safety training in English and Spanish for farm employees, as well as safety walkthroughs and consultation for management. These confidential, non-regulatory services are available throughout New York and are funded by the New York State Department of Labor Hazard Abatement Board. CPR and first aid training is funded by the NY State Department of Health. To schedule a training session or farm safety survey, or for more information about NYCAMH’s services, call NYCAMH at 800-343-7527, email firstname.lastname@example.org or read more online at www.nycamh.org.
NYCAMH, a program of Bassett Healthcare Network, enhances agricultural and rural health by preventing and treating occupational injury and illness.
–Anna Meyerhoff, Bilingual Farm Safety Educator
New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health-NYCAMH
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