ST. CLOUD, Minn. — It is widely acknowledged that farming is a dangerous profession. There are the obvious hazards such as tractors, grain bins, and other large, powerful equipment. There are also the less acknowledged smaller dangers such as slips and trips, that with forethought, can be avoided. These incidents can occur literally anywhere. Some common “risky” areas can include sloped terrain, areas that are washed down routinely, and areas with poor traction.
When we say trip, what do we mean? Trip is to catch the foot against something so as to stumble. There are dozens upon dozens of trip hazards on a given farm. Some culprits from my past have involved power cords, truck hitches, and uneven floors. These are common dangers, but with adequate forethought we can prevent a painful fall, or worse. Removing these hazards and practicing good housekeeping (after you use it, put it away) will not only keep you organized, but eliminate those additional tripping hazards lurking in the farm’s shop or leaning forgotten against the barn wall.
Slips occur when an individual slides unintentionally for a short distance, typically losing one’s balance or footing. Slipping can occur on wet, icy, or greasy surfaces. How can these accidents be avoided? Plan ahead! Wear foot apparel appropriate for the job or slip resistant shoes. Consider laying slip resistant matting or providing textured surfaces to potentially wet areas. What about removing manure and keeping surfaces dry, thus increasing traction for your boots and Bessie’s hooves? All these steps will reduce the likelihood of slipping around the farm for everyone.
Safety is, simply put, not a one and done task. It changes, sneaking up on you, and catches you unaware. It is our job to think of solutions and be mindful, keeping ourselves and our loved ones (livestock included) safe.
— Dana Adams, University of Minnesota Extension
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