Working on a farm can involve many hazards. Silage piles are particularly hazardous when the proper safety steps are not taken. Workers can fall from piles and experience severe injuries. Piles can also collapse, which leads to a risk of suffocation or even loss of life.
To ensure your farm operations are as safe and risk-free as possible, the University of Nebraska Medical Center has performed research to identify common risks and develop ways to prevent them. The Aberdeen News explains their recommendations, which can keep your farm staff safe and secure.
GOOD WORKER MANAGEMENT
Workers must be in proper condition when working in proximity to a silage pile. Farm staff must be well-rested, highly trained, and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Staff must be authorized to work within the silo. They should also be outfitted in high visibility vests for personal safety.
When driving vehicles, safety devices are key. Have well-established safety policies and make sure that all operators are aware of them. This includes the wearing of seatbelts each time a vehicle is being operated. The only time extra passengers should be allowed within vehicles is for training purposes. Supervisors must also observe workers to ensure safety practices are being followed.
PROPER PACKING OF SILAGE
The height of your silage pile can impact the safety of those working on your farm. Silage height should not extend above the height of equipment used for unloading. When adding forage layers, make sure they are packed as tightly as possible. To prevent collapse, markings must be added to points where new silage is piled on top of existing silage in horizontal silos. Additionally, new silage must never be added to existing silage with a plastic covering over it.
EQUIPMENT ALTERATIONS AIMED AT SAFETY
Heavy-duty work equipment also poses a risk to farm staff if the proper safety measures are not taken. All trucks should have backup alarms to ensure workers behind them are alerted to activity. Stabilization of work trucks is also important to prevent them tipping over. As a result, wheel weights are recommended. Weights can also be added to the front and rear of the vehicle.
Larger trucks and equipment often obscure vision while in the vehicle. When remote cameras are installed, operators have an easier time surveying the surrounding scene. Radios are also beneficial, as they allow farmworkers to communicate with each other, even when they are a far away.
By taking these steps, you can greatly reduce the risk of injuries at your farm. Not only does this prevent serious, and possibly fatal, accidents from occurring, it also helps you avoid legal issues related to work accidents.