CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Farming is a very rewarding way of life, but that way of life comes with many risks. From 2015 – 2019, 137 farm-related fatalities were reported in Pennsylvania alone. There are many hazards associated with farming, and unfortunately farming families grow so used to their daily routines that some of these hazards are often overlooked. Can you identify the potential hazards around your farm? Would you know what to do in the event of an emergency if you were the first to the scene? How comfortable are you around the machinery on the farm? If you are unsure about any of these questions, please join Penn State Extension and the Penn State Agricultural Safety Team for an on-farm workshop to learn more about how to keep your family safe on your farm.
On Tuesday, October 19, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, join us at Rocky Ridge Jerseys located at 12977 Mogul Hill Road in Shippensburg. At this on-farm event, we will be touring the farm and learning how to identify potentially hazardous situations. We will be discussing equipment safety, learning about basics of PTO safety, starting and stopping machinery, and how to stay out of blind spots. When small children are on the farm, learning equipment safety could mean life or death. Of the 137 PA fatalities, in those 5 years old and under 92% were results from exposure to farm equipment, tools, and hazards while not engaged in farm work.
Manure pits on farms are one of the most dangerous areas where extreme caution should be taken. Not only do they present drowning and entrapment situations, but the gasses at high enough levels can be dangerous to animals and humans. Gasses produced from decomposing manure include hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide. Hydrogen sulfide is the most dangerous out of these gasses and can result in death after just one or two breaths at extremely high levels. This gas can be detected by a distinctive rotten egg odor at very low levels. However, when manure in pits is agitated or being pumped, hydrogen sulfide can increase to dangerous levels where nerve cells inside the nose become paralyzed and those odors cannot be detected. In addition to following safety protocols around manure collection systems, there are gas detection meters that are available for use for those working around manure pits and will be demonstrated during this workshop.
In addition to the Franklin County workshop, a second workshop will be held on Wednesday, October 20 in Lancaster County. Of the 137 fatalities mentioned previously, Lancaster County accounted for over 13% of those deaths. This event will be held at the farm of Samuel King located at 5309 Peter’s Road in Kinzers.
For more information on either event, please visit https://extension.psu.edu/agriculture-safety-on-the-dairy-farm. Additional questions can be directed to Cassie Yost at 717-263-9226. While the events are free to attend, preregistration is encouraged for planning purposes and lunch counts. Join Penn State Extension for either of these educational programs to increase your awareness of farm hazards and learn what can be done to minimize those risks.
–Cassie Yost, Penn State Extension