California is home to many farms and orchards, and many people make their living by working in the agricultural industry. However, safety is an ongoing issue in the agricultural industry. The following are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for staying safe on the farm.
Tractor safety tips
Tractors used should have a rollover protective structure, and those operating these tractors should always use a seatbelt. When operating a tractor, avoid crossing slopes if you can and gauge your speed appropriately. Only have enough people on the tractor as there are seats. Hitch only to manufacturer recommended hitch points. Keep the bucket lowered when transporting materials and lower hydraulic equipment to the ground when you are not using it. Use handholds when getting on or off the tractor. Do not bypass-start tractors and make sure that the tractor is shut down when you are done using it.
If you use an ATV or other machinery, review the owner’s manual and do not carry more than one person on the ATV if it is meant for a single rider. Use caution on uneven terrain and make sure your loads are balanced. When using machinery, do not wear loose clothing, jewelry and tie long hair in a ponytail, braid or bun. Do not modify the machinery in ways not recommended by the manufacturer, and always use the necessary personal protective equipment.
Do not make loud noises or quick movements that might scare or startle animals. Animal pens should be equipped with person-gates and there should be escape routs available when workers have to work with animals in close quarters. Understanding animal behavior is also important.
Do not reach up too high when working on a ladder. Ladders should be in good working order and positioned appropriately. Three of your four limbs should always be always be in contact with the ladder. Make sure your farm has enough lighting and clean floors. Workers should wear slip resistant shoes with low heels. Hay and grain chutes should be closed off when not in use and open elevated spaces have a fixed railing.
Learn more about workers’ compensation for farm injuries
Unfortunately, not all employers will heed these safety practices and agricultural workers may get injured while in the job. If so, they may want to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. Our firm’s website on workers’ compensation benefits may be a useful resource for those who want to learn more about this topic.